Daily Archives:August 29th, 2017

Catholic groups are mobilising to help in Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath

A woman uses a coat hanger to try and retrieve an item from a destroyed house on 26 Aug 2017 after Hurricane Harvey struck Fulton, Texas. (CNS photo/Rick Wilking, Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Catholic dioceses and charities are quickly organising to help in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall with heavy rains and winds of 130 miles per hour late Aug 25, 2017 into the Rockport, Texas area, northeast of Corpus Christi. The National Weather Service said in a tweet Aug 27 that the rainfall expected after the hurricane and storm are over “are beyond anything experienced before.”

The hurricane, named Harvey, is said to be the strongest one to hit the United States in more than a decade and perhaps the strongest one to make landfall in Texas.

Catholic Charities USA, as well as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Disaster Services, announced early on Aug 26 that they’re mobilising to help an as-yet-unknown number of persons affected by the hurricane. The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops has a list of charities helping with the disaster listed on its website at https://txcatholic.org/harvey.

Authorities reported at least five casualties as of Aug 27, but because of safety issues, not many emergency teams have been yet able to respond to the aftermath and much of the damage is unknown. Texas Gov Greg Abbott declared the state a disaster area, which will allow federal money to help in reconstruction. Catholic groups said they want to help with the immediate needs of the communities affected.

“We will be sending in rapid-response teams to help our impacted St Vincent de Paul councils and we are coordinating nationally with the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Malta and (Catholic Charities USA),” said Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, CEO of the Society of St Vincent de Paul USA.

Cardinal Daniel N DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Aug 27 urged “all people of goodwill to closely monitor future calls for assistance for victims and survivors in the days ahead.”

The cardinal also is the head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, one of the hardest-hit areas.

“Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in a catastrophic and devastating way this weekend, bringing with it severe flooding and high winds which have taken human life, caused countless injuries, and severely damaged homes and property throughout the region,” said the cardinal in an Aug 27 news release. “The effects of this storm continue to put people in harm’s way, with horrific scenes playing out all around, such as those of people trapped on their rooftops as water continues to rise around them. Many dioceses of the church in the United States have been affected; many others will be as the storm continues.”

He asked for prayers but also for assistance for those affected. One of the first to pledge help was the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, where Bishop Daniel E Flores authorised a second collection to be taken up at the diocese’s local churches on the weekend of Aug 26-27 to send to Catholic Charities in nearby Corpus Christi and “other places hardest hit by loss of power, storm damage, flooding.”

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

In an Aug 26 statement published by the Galveston-Houston archdiocese, Cardinal DiNardo said powerful winds and heavy rainfall have already impacted many lives and homes throughout the region, and many in the southern counties of his archdiocese have already suffered substantial property damage and losses

In Houston, the country’s fourth largest city with 6.6 million residents, many struggled seeking safety in flooded residential streets, which are expected to get up to 50 inches of rainfall by the time the rain stops sometime at the end of August.

Up to 250,000 have been reported without power in Texas, a number that’s expected to rise.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said in a statement that the archdiocese pledged its support to recovery efforts that will start after the rain and wind subside.

In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo asked for prayers for emergency personnel and volunteers who are out and about in dangerous conditions and also “for those residing in our archdiocese, in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe and may God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey.” – CNS

Kuching lad ordained deacon in Bunan Gega

BUNAN GEGA — A Kuching lad was ordained to the diaconate in Bunan Gega on 23 Apr 2017.

Over 2000 people including family members and friends witnessed the diaconal ordination of Galvin Richard Ngumbang at St Jude Bunan Gega by Archbishop Simon Poh.

Born and bred in Kuching, the thirty-four-year-old is the youngest son of the late Richard Lee Ngumbang and Iris Ulat Pasa. Galvin underwent his primary and secondary education at St Joseph’s school and later graduated from UiTM Samarahan Campus in 2004 with Diploma in Science. Prior to entering Initiation Year in 2010 in Kota Kinabalu, he worked as an Assistant Science Officer with the Malaysian Pepper Board in Sibu.

In his speech, the newly ordained deacon encouraged young people to courageously answer God’s call to the priesthood or religious life.

“Offer up everything to God, your family and your anxiety. Be assured that God has a beautiful plan for those who totally give themselves to him,” he said.

At the end of the ordination Mass, Abp Poh thanked the community of St Jude’s Parish for hosting the ordination event. He also thanked the deacon’s mother, Iris Pasa, for offering her only son to God in the service of God’s people in the Archdiocese of Kuching.

The new deacon will continue to serve in St Jude’s Parish, Bunan until further notice. – todayscatholic.com.my

Pope Francis to visit Myanmar, Bangladesh in November

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis will make an Apostolic Journey to Myanmar from 27 -30 November 2017 and to Bangladesh from 30 November to 2 December 2017.

Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, made the official announcement in a statement on Monday, 28 Aug 2017,  also revealing the logos for the trip.

He said the Pope had welcomed “the invitation of the respective heads of state and bishops.”

Whilst in Myanmar (also known as Burma), Pope Francis will visit the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. In Bangladesh, the Pope will visit Dhaka.

The logo for his visit to Myanmar depicts Pope Francis releasing a white dove from within a heart drawn in the colours of Myanmar’s flag: yellow, green, and red.

An outline of Myanmar’s landmass sits beside the Pope within the heart, while the motto for his journey is shown above: “Love & Peace.”

The logo for Pope Francis’ visit to Bangladesh has coloured streamers in the shape of a dove, with a cross raised over a water lily (Bangladesh’s national flower) within it.

Above, the official motto for the Apostolic Journey, “Harmony and Peace”, is written in red. – Vatican Radio

 

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