How you can help:

Donate to Catholic Relief Services,, who will direct funds to Caritas Japan;

Donate by phone:
Call (800) 736-3467 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Donate by mail:
Mail your check or money order to:
Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090
Memo portion of the check:
Japan emergency

ST. FRANCIS — Jesuits in the United States received word from the head of the Jesuits in Japan on Monday that the Jesuits were not seriously affected by the earthquake that struck the country last Friday.

The Japanese provincial, Jesuit Fr. Kajiyama Yoshio, assured fellow Jesuits in a March 14 letter that the men there are safe and thanked people for sending their messages of condolence and encouragement in the wake of the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11.

“While we pray for the thousands of victims and their families and other thousands who lost their homes or who have to evacuate the nuclear reactor vicinity, we can report that our own Jesuit men and their works were not seriously affected, as we have no presence north of Tokyo,” said Fr. Kajiyama, noting that they haven’t heard reports from the Sendai Diocese, home to many Catholic facilities that are mostly inland from the shore.

Jesuit houses and schools in Tokyo and Kamakura experienced the “violent shaking,” but the damage, which includes several statues losing arms or heads from falling and the cross at the pinnacle of the tower of St. Ignatius Church in central Tokyo that now hangs upside down held only at its base, is reparable, he said.

The Jesuits have been warned that further seismic activity may occur in the following weeks and months that might affect the metropolitan area more directly.

“We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” he said.

The Jesuit Conference of the United States, the national office, released a statement March 15 suggesting all donors wishing to immediately support the emergency response donate to Catholic Relief Services (see related box), where funds will be directed to Caritas Japan, the social service arm of the church that responds with food and other assistance. They will send an updated statement if an appeal is received from the Japan province, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and/or the Jesuit Refugee Service.

“Our prayers remain with the people of Japan as they struggle through this difficult time,” it said.

The Wisconsin Jesuit Province, which includes Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska, doesn’t have men working in Japan.