MANILA, Oct. 15, 2013—A Catholic bishop is calling for prayers for those affected by a powerful earthquake in Visayas that killed people and destroyed properties. 

Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran asked prayers for those who have died and their loved ones who survived, for those left homeless and in shock, for the “healing” of the affected areas. 

At least 20 people were killed—15 in Cebu, four in Bohol and one in Siquijor— when a 7.2 quake struck provinces of Central Visayas on Tuesday morning. 

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs) said the temblor was recorded at 8:12 a.m. Its epicenter was traced in Carmen, Bohol. 

The quake also destroyed several heritage churches in Bohol diocese including the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Baclayon town, one of the country’s oldest churches. 

Medroso said the Bohol cathedral did not suffer major damage but several antique statues of saints were destroyed. 

In Cebu City, the quake also destroyed Sto. Niño Basilica’s belfry. 

Masses and other activities inside the basilica and the Cebu cathedral have already been cancelled as a precautionary measure.

Msgr. Achilles Dakay, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said Masses will be held temporarily outside of both churches as authorities assess the structures’ physical state. 

Meanwhile, the National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) and Caritas Manila vowed to send emergency assistance for those affected by the quake. 

The church agencies assured their readiness to help the affected communities particularly in Bohol and Cebu provinces. (CBCPNews)