AP PHOTOS: After disaster and death, finding succor in faith

Seated in a camping chair next to packages of food and water, a man played the guitar in the parking lot of a church-turned-shelter for evacuees from a raging wildfire in California.

Hundreds of men attended funeral prayers over 13 wooden coffins containing victims of an explosives attack on a truck in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

A congregant spread his arms wide, threw back his head and cried, “Hallelujah!” during a Mass outside a church damaged by a deadly earthquake in southwest Haiti.

A number of scenes captured in August by AP photographers around the world showed the central role faith plays in providing both material and spiritual succor in the wake of disaster and death, be they of natural causes or brought about by human conflict.

For Haitians it was a one-two punch as the 7.2-magnitude quake, which killed more than 2,200 people and ruined tens of thousands of homes, was followed days later by battering rains that compounded their misery. Inside a church shelter in Les Cayes, a girl slept on blankets draped over the hard tile floor the morning after Tropical Storm Grace swept over the hard-hit city.

In Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, where memories are still fresh of the 2020 port explosion that left more than 200 dead, a priest prayed over the portrait of one victim during a special Mass marking the disaster’s one-year anniversary.

And in New Delhi, a woman knelt in prayer on an Islamic prayer rug outside U.N. offices as hundreds of Afghans protested against the Taliban takeover of their homeland and demanded refugee status in India.

People also turned to faith under less calamitous, even joyful circumstances.

As the morning sun filtered through the tree canopy in Zimbabwe, Apostolic congregants gathered to pray after the government allowed houses of worship to reopen to people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

In Tokyo, Egyptian athlete Ibrahim Hamadtou pressed his head to the floor in prayer after competing in a table tennis match at the Paralympic Games.

Orange flames billowed from the mouth of a performer in India during a procession of the monthlong Bonalu festival dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction.

And in Bolivia, a Roman Catholic priest spritzed four attentive canines with water in blessing at a Mass celebrating the feast day of San Roque, or Saint Roch, patron saint of dogs.

These and more are among the AP’s top faith-related images from the month.

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Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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