Catholic groups mobilize to help after Hurricane Harvey



A woman uses a clothes hanger to try to retrieve an item from a house destroyed on August 26 after Hurricane Harvey hit Fulton, Texas. CNS Photo / Rick Wilking, Reuters

Catholic Dioceses and charities are moving quickly to help in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with winds of 130 miles per hour late August 25 in the Rockport, Texas area. northeast of Corpus Christi.

The hurricane, named Harvey, is believed to be the hardest to hit the United States in over a decade and possibly the hardest to make landfall in Texas.

Catholic Charities USA, along with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services, announced early August 26 that they were mobilizing to help an as yet unknown number of people affected by the hurricane. The Texas Catholic Bishops’ Conference has a list of charities helping with the disaster listed on its website at

Authorities reported a casualty on Saturday afternoon, but due to security concerns few emergency teams have yet been able to respond. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared the state a disaster area, which will allow federal money to help with reconstruction. Catholic groups said they wanted to help with the immediate needs of affected communities.

“We will send rapid response teams to help our affected St. Vincent de Paul councils and coordinate nationally with the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta and (Catholic Charities USA),” a said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul USA.

In the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores authorized a second collection at local churches in the diocese on the weekend of August 26-27 to send to Catholic charities near Corpus Christi and ” other places hardest hit by the losses. electricity, storm damage, flooding.

Communicating with other areas has been difficult, Bishop Flores said in an Aug. 26 interview with Catholic News Service, so it is difficult to assess the extent of the damage. But he said his diocese wanted to get ahead of the curve to get help where it’s needed quickly and as quickly as possible.

If the Rio Grande Valley, where the Diocese of Bishop Flores is located, was spared the major impact of Hurricane Harvey, then the diocese had a duty to help its neighbors to the north, in the coastal areas of Corpus Christi and Galveston-Houston, who appeared to be the hardest hit, he said. Hurricane Harvey appeared to enter near Corpus Christi and affected seven coastal counties in Texas and one parish in Louisiana.

“We continue to pray for all those affected by the hurricane and those in danger as the storms continue,” Bishop Flores said in a statement.

Although the weight of the hurricane’s winds has passed and Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm hours after landing, heavy rains and “catastrophic flooding” are expected for days, the National Hurricane Center said.

“We must remember… families affected by flooding in the coming days in other parts of the state will need relief,” Bishop Flores said. “We will better assess how we can help as we get more information on the needs of the (Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Catholic charities. “

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, heads the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, an area declared in a state of disaster.

In an August 26 statement issued by the Archdiocese, he called for prayers “for all those affected by the storm and in need of assistance during this natural disaster.”

Powerful winds and heavy rainfall have impacted many lives and homes across Galveston-Houston, the cardinal said, and many residents of counties in the southern counties of his archdiocese have already suffered substantial property damage and loss.

“Many houses in these communities are currently without electricity. Several forecasts predict further damage from storms and floods in the coming days, as well as high winds and tornado activity, ”Cardinal DiNardo said.

As many as 250,000 have been reported without power in Texas, a number that is expected to increase.

Archbishop of San Antonio Gustavo Garcia-Siller said in a statement that the archdiocese had pledged support for recovery efforts that will begin after the rain and wind fall.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Dioceses of Corpus Christi and Victoria, as well as the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, as they face the adverse effects of Hurricane Harvey,” he said. he declares. “The people of San Antonio have opened their arms to welcome the evacuees of this historic hurricane, and Catholic charities in the Archdiocese have helped and will continue to help in various ways those affected by this natural disaster.”

Bishop W. Michael Mulvey, of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, said he was grateful to the bishops who contacted him and to his diocese. He said the real damage around the diocese is still not known and the authorities are awaiting conditions that will allow a better assessment of the damage.

In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo asked for prayers for emergency personnel and volunteers who move in dangerous conditions and also “for those who reside in our Archdiocese, Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe and God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Key words: Corpus Christi, Hurricane Harvey, Rockport, Texas

Category: Featured, News from the United States and the World



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