Church reaches out to hurricane victims

CLICK HERECatholic Church facilities across the USA are responding to emergency and long-term needs of Hurricane Katrina refugees, by providing shelters, food, medicine and schooling.

The BBC is reporting this morning that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has issued a "desperate SOS" for thousands of people stranded with no food or water at the city's convention centre. It says up to 25,000 people are at the centre, in addition to tens of thousands more still trapped by the flood waters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina.

A statement on the US Bishops' website says virtually all dioceses in the country have planned parish collections for the coming two weekend. In addition, further immediate assistance is coming through everything from Catholic Charities agencies, the St Vincent De Paul Society, Catholic schools, Catholic hospitals, parishes, retreat centres and families.

It gives the example of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas, where well over 30,000 storm refugees relocated from New Orleans and other Gulf Coast dioceses. The Archdiocese is providing immediate monetary aid and housing. The local Catholic hospital, Christus St. Joseph, mobilised its mobile health unit to assist at shelters. Catholic schools in the archdiocese are accepting displaced students and allowing them to register without transcripts or other transfer papers. Vinnies has appealed locally for supplies, and a local church has been opened by the American Red Cross as a shelter.

In New Orleans itself, Archbishop Alfred Hughes--along with hundreds of thousands of refugees, most likely now homeless after the scourge of Hurricane Katrina--spent Wednesday in ministry to the frightened and devastated evacuees of the city of New Orleans.

Catholic News Service also reports that Bishop Robert Muench of nearby Baton Rouge was moved by the outpouring of service and volunteerism from young and old alike.

"In the midst of this disaster", he told a local newspeper, "we are seeing a great deal of goodness that people are demonstrating to their neighbour and a great deal of care in that we see the work of God to have a neighborly response to one another."

Catholic Church Provides Food, Facilities, Medical Services For Gulf Coast People Displaced By Katrina (US Conference of Catholic Bishops 1/9/05)
New Orleans Archbishop Hughes survives Katrina; continues to minister to fellow refugees (Catholic News Agency 1/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities New Orleans
Archdiocese of New Orleans

Catholic Charities prepared for hurricane relief effort (CathNews 31/8/05)

Caritas Internationalis in Solidarity with Victims of Hurricane Katrina (Caritas Internationalis 1/9/05)
Pope offers concern for Katrina's victims, prayers for relief workers (Catholic News Service 31/8/05)
Louisiana diocese opens schools to students evacuated by hurricane (Catholic News Service 31/8/05)
Louisianans face long recovery from Katrina, New Orleans flooding (Catholic News Service 31/8/05)
Most bishops in hurricane's path accounted for (Catholic News Service 1/9/05)
New Orleans archbishop joins Katrina refugees (Catholic World News 1/9/05)
Archbishop Philip Hannan (Nola.com 1/9/05)
Acadiana seminarians serving in New Orleans safe after storm (Daily (The Advertiser 2/9/05)
Papal Condolences for Hurricane Victims in U.S. (Zenit 31/8/05)
In the Wake of Katrina, Calls for Prayer (Zenit 31/8/05)
Papal Telegram on Behalf of Hurricane Victims (Zenit 31/8/05)
Telegramma di Cordoglio del Santo Padre per le vittime dell'uragano "Katrina" negli Stati Uniti D'America, 31.08.2005
Charities gear up for hurricane recovery as damage assessment begins (Catholic News Service 30/8/05)
USCCB president calls for national collection for hurricane relief (Catholic News Service 30/8/05)
Pope offers concern for Katrina's victims, prayers for relief workers (Catholic News Service 31/8/05)
Pope issues telegram to victims of Hurricane Katrina (Catholic News Agency 31/8/05)
US Bishops announce national collection for Hurricane Katrina relief (Catholic News Agency 31/8/05)
Papal condolences for US hurricane victims (Catholic World News 31/8/05)
National Collection for Hurricane Relief Announced (Zenit 30/8/05)

2 Sep 2005