USCCB leader: Take up a special collection for hurricane victims

A condominium complex is reduced to rubble Aug. 26 after Hurricane Harvey struck in Rockport, Texas. (CNS photo/Rick Wilking, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked bishops across the country to consider a special collection to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast.

He suggested in an Aug. 28 letter to bishops that the collection be taken during Masses the weekend of Sept. 2-3 or Sept. 9-10.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses along with their sense of normalcy. We also stand with our brother bishops in the region who have the difficult task of providing pastoral care in these most trying times while managing their own losses. Our prayerful and financial support is urgently needed," he wrote.

Funds collected will support emergency aid and recovery efforts under Catholic Charities USA and pastoral and rebuilding support to the affected dioceses through the bishops' conference.

Funds collected will support emergency aid and recovery efforts under Catholic Charities USA and pastoral and rebuilding support to the affected dioceses.

The storm has dumped as much as four feet of rain on some areas of Texas and Louisiana, weather observers have reported. Thousands of people have evacuated flooded homes and communities and remained in emergency shelters across the region.

Among the most affected areas are the Diocese of Victoria and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, USCCB president, oversees. Numerous parishes and schools have been flooded while others have offered facilities as shelter. Parishes have also helped distribute food and emergency supplies to storm victims.

"Together with Cardinal DiNardo and the bishops throughout the affected region, I express deep gratitude to the first responders and countless volunteers who are assisting the Gulf Coast region in countless ways," Archbishop Gomez wrote.

Several organizations have established emergency relief operations for the thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey and the floods in Texas and Louisiana.

Contributions can be made to:

  • Catholic Charities USA: online at https://catholiccharitiesusa.org; telephone at 800-919-9338; mail to P.O. Box 17066, Baltimore, Maryland, 21297-1066 and write "Hurricane Harvey" in the memo line of the check.
  • Texas Catholics Conference is coordinating emergency services. A listing by diocese of where to give has been posted online at https://txcatholic.org/harvey/.
  • Local dioceses are expected to initiate special collections during weekend Masses Sept. 2-3 or Sept. 9-10. Funds will benefit Catholic Charities USA's disaster relief efforts as well as pastoral and rebuilding support through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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