The weather reports inform us that the Sabine River will crest at approximately 30 feet this weekend. We are certainly keeping an alert watch for our brothers and sisters to the west.
We had a chance to visit the shelter housed at the Civic Center in Lake Charles. Any visitor is struck by the ordeal that these refugees are enduring. They come from many places. I met some from Orange and Victoria, Texas, as well as others nearer to us. The arrival of hundreds more is expected once I-10 becomes passable. There are many volunteers from area churches and local charities. I have asked the Dean, Father Marcus Johnson, to coordinate a schedule of clergy visits to the shelters. Authorities have advised that the residents sheltered at Burton Coliseum will soon be moved to Alexandria and Texas evacuees from the Civic Center will soon be bused to a facility in north Louisiana that can better provide for their potential long-term emergency housing needs. And, of course, Catholic Charities is providing supplies of needed items.
Catholic Charities continues to accept donations of material goods. The specific and updated needs are found listed on the diocesan website.
The city of Beaumont at the moment is without drinking water. I spoke to Bishop Curtis Guillory, and Sister Mary Vianney has coordinated with the Director of Catholic Charities in Beaumont the delivery of fresh water. Flooding in that city is extensive.
I wish to thank the many volunteers who are sacrificing time and effort at our local Catholic Charities. Yesterday, I visited with them. Some were sorting into individual boxes various toiletries. Others were moving crates of food or unloading containers of bottled water. Still others were organizing clothing and even household items.
This weekend I will travel to Cameron Parish for a visitation to St. Mary of the Lake Church Parish, celebrating Masses there and at St. Patrick Chapel in Sweetlake. Reports from our parishes in Cameron indicate that the damage was minimal, although all Masses this weekend in the Creole/City of Cameron area will be celebrated in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Creole. Our Lady of Star of the Sea in Cameron is not quite ready for use.
We have asked the parishes of the Diocese of Lake Charles to conduct a second collection at all Masses on the weekend of September 9 and 10. This is a national collection requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to assist with needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Please remember the Shrine of Our Lady Star of the Sea, its special place in the Diocese of Lake Charles, and the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother. Let us give thanks for her intercession and ask God’s healing and protection for all those displaced, injured, and affected during this catastrophic storm. Our Lady Star of the Sea, pray for us!