St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Monday a National Day of Mourning in Sierra Leone

From the last count I've been able to read in reports of the ferry disaster: 120 have been buried. It has been said that many of the bodies found have been buried in Mass Graves because of the advanced state of decomposing. Many more bodies have yet to be discovered and they may end up floating into local streams and rivers.

The surveillance patrol of the Sierra Leone Navy continues the search for the victims.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Koroma declared Monday to be a National Day of Mourning. It seems fitting since it is a Holy Day of the Cross on our religious calendar. September 14th, The Exaltation of the Cross. I've always wondered about the "exaltation" thinking rather it should be a Holy Day of remembrance of BEARING the Cross. I understand the victory won on the Cross, and certainly this should be exalted but there is another dimension of the carrying of the Cross. Certainly, the people of Sierra Leone bear the cross more than most.

The President said that citizens should consider wearing black armbands and flags will be at half mast.

Those that survived said the ferry transported goods and passengers which included many children. They say it overturned and sank within in minutes.

Survivors also stated that rescue operations were delayed and medical supplies were not enough to treat the 37 who survived. It is estimated there were 268-300 on board.

It is reported that nearly 10 hours passed before the first rescue mission was launched.

I have ridden on the ferry into Freetown. As you can see by the concern on Fr. my face... I was not happy with the situation in which I found myself. My concerns were with the overloading of the ferry and the general condition of the boat. I just wanted to get to the other side, to get off the boat.

I read that the harbour master of the town of Tombo, Samuel Bangura, said all vessels had been grounded along the coast and a thorough inspection would be carried out before boats may set sail again. I applaud this and hope that the inspection is complete and uninhibited.

Aware that the nation of Sierra Leone is in the recovery mode, I know the many struggles they have. It is not easy, no matter who is in charge, to pull a nation out of such a dire straights. We must pray for the people, its leaders, everyone of this country and those who deal with Salone from other countries. There have been many improvements and more are on the way, we must use every obstacle to learn and grow, learning from our mistakes in order to bring about a brighter future, working together for the better. To this end we must pray.

On Monday, Nazareth House will mourn the loss, and we pray that these dear people did not die in vain. I can only hope that this tragedy, like so many tragedies, will rise from the ashes of adversity and bring about the change needed so that something like this doesn't happen again.