Catholics across US opening doors to Katrina victims

CLICK HERECatholic organisations as far away as San Francisco and Chicago are opening their doors to victims of Hurricane Katrina as relief agencies begin coping with the masses of people left homeless along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Catholic News Service reports that in response to a request by the American Red Cross, the San Francisco Archdiocese offered St. Mary's Cathedral to shelter 300 victims. The archdiocese also announced it would be providing case management and other services geared for seniors and children.

Catholic Charities of Chicago announced that it was preparing a residential facility to house seniors and families and was working with city officials to find other suitable residences.

In Louisiana, meanwhile, Catholic Charities of New Orleans and Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge are working with government, community and volunteer organizations at disaster sites to assess short-term and long-term needs. For the short term, both agencies are providing grief counseling services while trying to re-establish the level of services they provided prior to the hurricane.

Church officials are developing a "ministry in motion," said Beth Millbank, communications director for the New Orleans Archdiocese's Catholic Charities.

Frank Carlin, former Catholic Relief Services (CRS) deputy executive director, has come out of retirement to assist. He said CRS has ample experience handling natural disasters and will "identify and anticipate the problems that are coming."

Carlin said the increased population flowing into Baton Rouge because of the hurricane would put pressure on a city which already has many poor and vulnerable people liable to fall between the cracks. Another concern is the impact on employment, he said.

In Chicago, about 40 people, both evacuees and Chicago-area residents expecting large groups of relatives from the disaster area, contacted Catholic Charities within a week after the hurricane hit, said Joan McConnell, who coordinates emergency assistance for Catholic Charities of Chicago.

Catholic groups across U.S. opening doors to Katrina victims (Catholic News Service 7/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Hurricane Katrina
Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Relief Services | Katrina Prayer

Australian Catholic leader offers prayers for Katrina victims (CathNews 7/9/05)
Katrina's toll on diocesan infrastructure (CathNews 6/9/05)
Pope sends Katrina aid (CathNews 5/9/05)
Church reaches out to hurricane victims (CathNews 2/9/05)
Catholic Charities prepared for hurricane relief effort (CathNews 31/8/05)

Religious men and women dispersed throughout southern US after Katrina (Catholic News Agency 7/9/05)
Cuban churches offers help to America (Independent Catholic News 7/9/05)

8 Sep 2005