In show of solidarity, Pope Francis asks Cardinal Cupich to visit Puerto Rico

Margarita Rodriguez holds a flashlight as she quizzes her 11-year-old daughter Isel Martinez on homework outside their home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 25. Most of Puerto Rico has been without power and water for more than one month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island (CNS photo/Bob Roller).Margarita Rodriguez holds a flashlight as she quizzes her 11-year-old daughter Isel Martinez on homework outside their home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 25. Most of Puerto Rico has been without power and water for more than one month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island (CNS photo/Bob Roller).

Cardinal Blase Cupich will visit Puerto Rico early next month at the request of Pope Francis, a visit meant to show solidarity with the island’s residents as they continue to recover from a devastating September hurricane.

“Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Cupich to express his deep concern, as a father would have for his sons and daughters suffering in his family, and to let the people and pastors know that their situation weighs heavily on him,” said a Nov. 27 announcement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

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The cardinal, who is also chancellor of Catholic Extension, will arrive in Puerto Rico on Dec. 3 and depart Dec. 6.

“Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Cupich to express his deep concern, as a father would have for his sons and daughters suffering in his family.”

Earlier this month, Catholic Extension announced that it had donated more than $365,000 to dioceses affected by hurricanes this fall, including locations in Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The Chicago-based charity also said it would launch a multi-year fundraising effort to assist Puerto Rican dioceses, modeled on a similar effort following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. That campaign raised more than $10 million for Gulf Coast dioceses.

Speaking at a Catholic Extension press event in Baltimore on Nov. 14, San Juan Archbishop Roberto González Nieves said Puerto Rico is “still in the emergency phase. We still need water, we still need food, we still need clothing.”

As of Monday, authorities in Puerto Rico said that electricity generation was at 58 percent capacity, that 91 percent of people had access to water and that more than 1,100 people remain in shelters.

Earlier this month, the head of Catholic Charities USA visited Puerto Rico to deliver a donation to Caritas de Puerto Rico, the local Catholic Charities agency. Donna Markham, O.P., delivered a check for $2 million, bringing the total support to Caritas from Catholic Charities to $3.5 million.

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John Walton
5 months 3 weeks ago

Maybe Cupich can ask Puerto Rican politicians why the Electric Power Authority was providing electricity free of charge to ice-skating rinks, baseball fields and soccer stadiums, whether the practice of not charging municipalities for electrical service caused a shortage of funds for routine maintenance. While he's at it, he can investigate why one billion dollars from FEMA was not spent on emergency preparedness as it was intended, and squandered.

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