How is it that in the midst of our deepest trials, during the times when we feel stripped down to absolutely nothing, that we could possibly give thanks? Where does gratitude exist in times of what seems like non-existence – when no one fully comprehends the impact of what it means to be homeless except for those living without a roof over their head?
In America’s fourth largest city, two months after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc upon the population, Houston carries on with business as usual – cars pack the six lanes of interstate highways heading into morning rush hour, restaurants open their doors for customers and retail stores prepare for the holiday shopping season.
Eighteen strangers from the Brooklyn Diocese, ranging from DeSales Media staff to a retired nurse from Woodside, a bride-to-be/freelance construction project manager from Sunnyside, a retired school teacher from Long Island to a student studying English as a second language from Colombia, all gathered at John F. Kennedy Airport on Nov. 12 to embark on a mission trip. It would take them away from their everyday lives in order to help victims from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed more than our share of disasters – both man-made and natural occurrences.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
The recent multiplicity of natural disasters, with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and the earthquake in Mexico, have all come in less than a month’s time. These tragic events certainly lead us to consider why natural disasters occur.
Local Houston legend Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale became a worldwide icon of generosity by opening his furniture stores to shelter Hurricane Harvey victims. He said he was inspired by his Catholic faith.
The U.S. bishops’ Executive Committee Sept. 12 prayed for “the safety and care of human life” after two catastrophic hurricanes and urged Catholics around the country to offer their prayers as well as financial support and volunteer help as they can.
FEMA is being sued by three churches damaged by Hurricane Harvey that are being denied relief funding because of their status as religious institutions. Since the 1990s, FEMA has banned houses of worship from receiving federal aid — a policy that the religious liberty law firm Becket is now challenging.
The parish hall at St. Mary of the Isle Church on the South Shore of Long Island was a beehive of activity Sept. 2 as an army of volunteers packed canned food, flashlights, baby formula, cleaning products and an assortment of other relief supplies into corrugated boxes for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
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.