Mexicans Turn To Their Faith As Country Recovers From Earthquake

Carol Kuruvilla
Relatives and friends of victims attend a catholic mass outside the the Enrique Rebsamen school that collapsed during Tuesday's magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Days after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit central Mexico, residents are in part turning to prayer and spirituality to cope with the devastation. 

The earthquake, which hit on Tuesday, severely crippled Mexico City, and has caused major damage in nearby states. About 286 people were reported dead as of Friday, the AP reports, with more than half of those deaths occurring in in the country’s capital city. 

Rescue workers were still attempting to find survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings on Friday. 

In a country where about 81 percent of the population identifies as Catholic, some survivors of the earthquake have been turning to their religion for comfort as they bury the dead.

In southern Mexico City, 19 children and six adults died after the collapse of the Enrique Rebsámen school building. Eleven children were successfully rescued from the rubble as of Thursday, the AP reports. 

Relatives, friends, and rescue workers gathered near the school Thursday evening to participate in a large, outdoor Catholic Mass to remember victims. The priest spoke the names of the dead, and attendees released white balloons with messages for the deceased. 

“My brave princess,” one balloon read, “we will always love you.” 

Scroll down for images of faith in action in Mexico, and click here for suggestions of how to help. 

(Hector Vivas via Getty Images)

A woman talks with a priest two days after the earthquake in Mexico City, Mexico. The earthquake comes 32 years after a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hit on September 19, 1985.

(Gary Coronado via Getty Images)

Rosalba Ramirez Vargas, center, with the prayer group 'The Best Friends of Jesus' pray while anxiously waiting for news from rescue crews at Enrique Rebsamen School in Mexico City.

(Daniel Becerril / Reuters)

Flowers and a religious image are seen amidst support beams and rubble during the search for students.

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

At least 25 bodies have been pulled from the wreckage of the school. 

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Relatives and friends signed balloons with messages after the mass. 

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People write the names of victims and messages for them on balloons. 

(NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A woman is seen reading letters written to remember children who have died during the earthquake. 

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Flowers are seen during the mass. 

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A member of the The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) checks for damage inside the Parroquia de la Asuncion church in Yautepec de Zaragoza, Morelos State, Mexico, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Debris sits on the benches inside the Parroquia de la Asuncion church. 

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Debris sits on the floor of the chapel of the Parroquia de la Asuncion church.

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A pack of cards depicting a religious figure lies on the floor outside the Parroquia de la Asuncion church in Yautepec de Zaragoza, Morelos State, Mexico, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman touches a religious statue retrieved from the Parroquia de la Asuncion church, located in Yautepec de Zaragoza, Morelos State, Mexico.

(Imelda Medina / Reuters)

People accompany caskets through the streets in Puebla, Mexico. 

(Imelda Medina / Reuters)

People stand outside a damaged church in Atzala, on the outskirts of Puebla, Mexico.

(Imelda Medina / Reuters)

People light candles for victims who died after the roof of a church collapsed in Atzala, on the outskirts of Puebla, Mexico. 

(Imelda Medina / Reuters)

A woman hugs a casket holding the body of a victim who died along with others, after the roof of a church collapsed in Atzala, on the outskirts of Puebla, Mexico. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.