My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
My recent visit to Puerto Rico with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to show solidarity, and offer assistance and support to Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan and the other bishops of Puerto Rico brought home to me again memories of past visits to areas which experienced natural disasters.
On Monday, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. announced that it would offer free tuition to students from Puerto Rico displaced by recent hurricanes. While several other institutions of higher education have already set up similar programs to aid the island, this is the first of its kind by a Catholic university.
LARES, Puerto Rico (CNS) – Hurricane-related deaths in Puerto Rico have been attributed to drowning and illness, but many Puerto Ricans, including local media professionals, see a link between such deaths and poverty.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Father Terry Tull takes an annual vacation to Brooklyn to visit family and friends. This year his trip has taken on a different role.
In yet another example of the support New Yorkers have offered to the people of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio visited San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday, Oct. 30.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria have challenged not only the resources, but also the hopes of Academia María Reina (AMR) in San Juan, Puerto Rico – one of the six schools sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, L.I. (CSJ). AMR is facing limited communication, no electricity, as well as some damage to the building itself.
The Tablet’s exclusive coverage on the devastation in Puerto Rico can be found here.
Part of the athletic complex at Immaculate Conception Pastoral Center, Douglaston, has turned into a storage area for the past few weeks, as Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens stockpiles needed supplies that will be shipped to assist hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
While Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated Mass Oct. 20 for those on the island of Puerto Rico who had been affected by Hurricane Maria, he explained that the prayers were also being offered for the other Caribbean islands, Mexico and parts of the United States that have suffered because of recent storms.
We landed in San Juan exactly at noon on Thursday, Oct. 19. It was one of those flights that could turn you into a praying man – just a long period of turbulence from Queens to Old San Juan. As the plane approached the airport two details stand out – the grayness of the trees and the colors on the roofs. Hurricane Maria had taken away the leaves and the roofs. Naked trees and roofless houses now covered with plastic tarps were the new face of San Juan from the unquiet comfort of my seat on the plane.