Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Sandy’

Hurricane Sandy Update

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

I owe you an update on the response of the archdiocese to the turmoil of the hurricane.

The bad news is that the extent of the destruction from the storm seems wider and deeper each day.

We still have people without homes, whose lives are still in distress.

We still have people grieving the loss of family members and friends.  Just yesterday, for instance, Our Lady, Help of Christians Parish on Staten Island gathered around Pat Dresch, a beloved parishioner, a longtime leader in religious education, for the funeral Mass and burial of her husband and daughter, victims to the sea.

We still have massive clean-up efforts, especially in Staten Island, in the south part of Manhattan, and in our upper-counties, in neighborhoods, parishes, and schools.

We still have families whose lives are in upheaval because of work missed or jobs lost, possessions gone and future unsure.

We still are united with those along the Jersey shore, in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, who can’t even get back home yet.

The good news is that God’s people – you – rose to the occasion.

On 9/11, I was at home, in St. Louis, in a parish, and from afar, along with the rest of the world, I admired the resilience, compassion, and cooperation of the New York community.

Now I’m one of you – and, while tearful at the loss, am very proud of the rescue and renewal so evident.

While we do not yet have a tally, it seems as if the parishes of the archdiocese, along with funds designated from the Cardinal’s Appeal, have donated close to $2 million to assist our neighbors in distress, whatever their faith.

Catholic Charities of the archdiocese has been on the front lines, providing not only relief, but coordination of aid, helping as well to renew the spirit by providing counselors for those hit hard by loss.

Our parishes, particularly on Staten Island, became sanctuaries of welcome and assistance.

Our schools and programs rose-up and were back-in-service in remarkable time.

Most of all, the message of Jesus, “Be not afraid,” was proclaimed, as not even the winds and the waves can destroy our hope in Him.

Yes, God can bring good out of evil.

In all of this, the Church has been a leader, a partner, a servant, a refuge.

Tons of work yet to be done, and we intend to be unflagging, because this is not only about homes and possessions, but about people, who are neighbors, fellow parishioners, family members, and friends, who are God’s children, made in His image and likeness.  And, as long as we do it for them, we do it for Him.

The Church: Our Shelter in the Storm

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

An ecumenical council, or a papal encyclical, could not have given a better definition of the Church than the one given last week by a tearful woman on Breezy Point.

She was being interviewed by a TV reporter, standing over the rubble of her leveled home, one of more than 100 homes in this small Queens community that were destroyed by fire in the middle of Superstorm Sandy last week.  All around her, nothing of her former cherished neighborhood was standing.

In response to the reporter’s question, between sobs, she recounted her experience of that awful night.  As the winds, waves, and drapes of fire came upon her, she obviously fled her little home, looking for safety.  But, she could hardly see!  The gale, the lashing rain, the smoke, the flames . . . !  And there were no familiar landmarks, because all of them were blown away.  She stumbled desperately, calling for help, her voice muted by the roar of Sandy.  Her fear was she’d walk right into the ocean, so disoriented was she, so groping for some security.

Let her finish the “narrow escape”:

“Finally, I looked up, and I was in front of the parish church.  Now I knew where I was!  Now I felt safe!  Now I was home!  The doors were open, the candles were lit, my neighbors were there, Monsignor Curran was there . . . thank God!  I would be okay . . . “

That’s the Church . . . come on in . . . we all need safety in a storm . . . we all need a “home” when our own is gone . . .

Meeting Saints on All Saints’ Day

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Yesterday, I was moved during my visit to the emergency shelter at John Jay College which is helping so many affected by Hurricane Sandy. It was my privilege to be able to meet and talk with so many resilient and graceful men and women, including those being helped and those helping them!


Afterwards, I went over to Staten Island, which has been hit terribly hard by the storm. Please remember them in your prayers especially!

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, spent most of Thursday afternoon touring the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy on the East and South Shores of Staten Island. Read more here.

Finally, today is All Souls’ Day. For all of those who lost their lives during this storm and for all of our family members and loved ones who have died, we pray:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.