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A family of devout Catholics from a South Pacific island is thanking the Infant of Prague for keeping them and their beloved religious safe after a huge volcanic eruption. That eruption, which occurred in the kingdom of Tonga, generated tsunami waves roughly 50 feet high and could be heard as far away as Alaska, over 6,000 miles away. Church Militant's William Mahoney has more on the eruption and the grateful Tongan family.
Angela Afeaki and her family are expressing extreme gratitude to the Infant of Prague for His protection and St. Teresa of Ávila for her intercession.
Afeaki now resides in Sydney, Australia, but much of her family, and the region's beloved Carmelite nuns, still live in Tonga, where the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai submarine volcano began to erupt on Jan. 14.
Once Afeaki learned of the eruption, she began praying and trying to reach her family.
Angela Afeaki: "I'm still trying to call Tonga. Nothing. No reception. No electricity. Nothing."
Everything was down in Tonga. Afeaki then learned the tsunamis reached other countries like Peru, Japan and the United States. She continued to pray, trying not to worry. Concern for her family and others spread to concern for the Tongan Carmelites, whose church is near the family home, close to where the volcano erupted.
Afeaki: "It's in a place called Ha'apai. So Tonga is made up of like 169 islands and four main groups. That group is the Ha'apai region. There's only one Catholic church there, and that church is called St. Teresa of Ávila."
In addition to her prayers to the Divine Infant, Afeaki began asking St. Teresa of Ávila to intercede. After many days of worry, she finally received word from her brother, who was able to communicate with people on the island via satellite.
Afeaki learned everybody was fine, including the Carmelites. Thinking back on all that played out, she made a compelling connection.
Afeaki: "January 14 — that's the day of the volcano erupting; that's the day the tsunami. And it happens to be the Holy Infant of Prague's feast day."
Afeaki was later looking at a prayer booklet which contained the Infant of Prague's words: "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you."
Afeaki: "Right now, I think, personally, the Holy Infant wants to be honored and adored and to be made known in time."
To make the Infant more known, Afeaki is translating a pamphlet on the devotion for her people.