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Tennessee bishops asks for prayers, relief help for victims of wildfires

Thursday, December 1, 2016 9:25
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(Before It's News)

By Catholic News Service

Smoke plumes from wildfires were seen Nov. 29 along the Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tenn. Raging wildfires fueled by high winds claimed the lives of at least three people, forced the evacuation of thousands and damaged hundreds of buildings in the popular resort town.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Catholic parishioners in the Diocese of Knoxville are among those who have lost homes and businesses in the wildfires that ravaged tourist areas in the Great Smoky Mountains region, said Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville.

Midday Nov. 30, the diocese was still awaiting word on the condition of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Gatlinburg, he said in a statement posted on the diocesan website. Earlier, the diocese reported that the pastor, Father Antony Punnackal, had to evacuate but was safe.

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