I visited Catholic Charities today at 1225 Second Street. Sister Mary Vianney and one of her staff, Wendy, informed me of developments in the Sabine River area, which is the western-most boundary of our diocese. According to them almost 700 homes have been flooded, and the civil authorities expect over 1,000 homes to take in water following the cresting of the river. In partnership with a number of area churches, Catholic Charities is providing for the victims and their shelters.
On Monday, September 4, eighteen or more trucks, including 18-wheelers carrying provisions left for Texas. Donors have been overwhelmingly generous with water for our neighbor to the west, the Diocese of Beaumont. The City of Beaumont was and perhaps remains without a working water system. An example of generous individuals responding to needs was Archbishop Aymond who phoned me last Friday and asked, “What do you need?" I informed him that I had just spoken to Bishop Guillory of Beaumont and the city had no water service. The Archbishop then sent over several cases (40) of fresh water which we immediately dispatched to Beaumont on Saturday along with substantial donations of water already received. The trucks bringing the needed water could not get through because I-10 was closed due to the flooding from a nearby River. Sister Vianney, with the assistance of other Catholic Charities personnel, found the services of an air service and had the water supply airlifted to Beaumont. This is just one example of what is going on and the resources being utilized to answer emergency situations.
There has been flooding in the lower lying areas in and around Lake Charles. Several hundred homes have been affected. As well, refugees from the Texas flooding have arrived and are looking for lodging with the help of Catholic Charities. An added challenge is placement in schools for children displaced from Texas. Our Catholic Schools stand ready to assist. Monsignor Torres has informed me that the parish school of Our Lady Queen of Heaven has already received requests and students are preparing to enter there.
I visited St. Mary of the Lake Parish over last weekend. At Mass were members of the "Cajun" navy. They have done some heroic work in rescuing flood victims from their homes in Texas. We pray for their good work.
Let us lift up in prayer all those affected in this devastation. Given the developing storms in the Atlantic, Mary's prayers will be needed for the future.