By ZENIT Staff

As the death toll from an earthquake in the southern Philippines rose to four, church officials called for prayers and help for survivors, reported CBCP News.

A six-year-old girl was among the fatalities when 6.9-magnitude tremor jolted Davao del Sur and other parts of Mindanao on Sunday, December 15, 2019.

“Let us remember our brothers and sisters in Mindanao, who experienced an earthquake that is even stronger than the previous ones,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said.

The cardinal made the call in his homily during the first Simbang Gabi at the Manila Cathedral on Dec. 16.

“Let us stand together with our brethren, who are, at this time, attending the Simbang Gabi not inside a beautiful church but are still manifesting their faith,” he said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake’s epicenter was near the Matanao town, around nine kilometers west of Digos City.

Bishop Guillermo Afable also asked Filipinos to pray the rosary for the quake victims who are still reeling from the series of earthquakes in October.

“We call on all Filipinos to pray together the Holy Rosary, especially today. Because this is the best thing to do in times of danger,” he told Radio Veritas.

The quake happened a day before the start of the nine-day Simbang Gabi tradition in ushering the Christmas season.

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