By Peter Finney Jr. and Christine Bordelon
Archbishop Gregory Aymond has contacted Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to assure him of the prayers and financial support of the Archdiocese of New Orleans for the flood victims in Texas and southwest Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“Cardinal DiNardo has expressed his gratitude that several of our parishes, schools and special ministries are collecting items to help the people during this tragic time so that they can begin to stabilize their lives,” Archbishop Aymond said. “He’s also grateful that people are offering their financial support, because this will truly be needed as they rebuild their lives and their homes.”
Special archdiocesan fund
Archbishop Aymond has established a special donors’ fund to which people of the archdiocese can contribute. All proceeds will go directly to bishops in the affected areas of Texas and Louisiana.
Checks made payable to the “Archdiocese of New Orleans” may be sent to Archbishop Aymond at 7887 Walmsley Ave., New Orleans, LA 70125. Indicate “Hurricane Relief” on the memo line.
Donating online available
Also, secure online donations may be made at http://cf.arch-no.org/nolacatholic-hurricane-harvey-relief/
Several parishes in the archdiocese are planning to hold second collections for hurricane relief. Those donations will be forwarded to Archbishop Aymond for disbursement to the bishops of the affected areas.
For those wanting to donate directly to affected Catholic dioceses in Texas, go to https://txcatholic.org/harvey/ for more information. Donations also can be made to Catholic Charities USA at catholiccharitiesusa.org.
Schools are hosting drives
Several archdiocesan schools have launched school supply drives and canned goods drives to help Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans and Acadiana.
Tom Costanza, division director of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, has contacted colleagues in the other Catholic dioceses of Louisiana to assess any needs, especially if those areas receive an influx of evacuees.
Catholic Charities USA is coordinating the mobilization of staff of its member agencies around the country who are prepared to travel to south Texas and Louisiana to supplement the services of the affected agencies with additional counseling, case management and emergency response services.
As soon as it is possible to travel into the flood zone these volunteer Catholic Charities employees will deploy to Galveston/Houston, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Beaumont, Lake Charles and other areas as needed.
The bishops of the United States have called for special collections to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. These donations are funneled through the National Office of Catholic Charities USA to be distributed as long term disaster recovery grants to agencies providing disaster recovery services.
Other local efforts:
St. Catherine of Siena Parish: Collecting water, food for animals, schools supplies to be delivered in two 18-wheelers to Texas.
Father Tim Hedrick, parochial vicar, said he expects the parish to send another two or three 18-wheelers by the time the effort is finished.
Archbishop Chapelle High School and St. Pius X School students are collecting supplies that will be dropped off at St. Catherine.
The parish also has received financial donations, including an anonymous $50,000 donation, for relief efforts.
“We expect to have four or five 18-wheelers filled before it’s all done,” Father Hedrick said. “People have been very generous. We’ve had everyone from 4-year-olds to 75-year-olds helping out.”
New Orleans Tours has offered to provide a 53-passenger bus to bring volunteers from St. Catherine of Siena to the drop-off area in Texas – at a site still undetermined – to unload the trucks. Father Hedrick said Archbishop Aymond is working with Cardinal DiNardo to determine St. Catherine’s drop-off site.
Men’s clubs of St. Margaret Mary and Our Lady of Lourdes, Slidell: Drove toward Houston to help hurricane victims and got as far as a strip mall in Orange, Texas. They fed more than 500 people the first day. They are prepared to make as many as 6,000 meals.
St. Charles Borromeo in Destrehan: Collecting gift cards to distribute to hurricane victims. Gift cards from major department stores (Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc.) will be accepted. Monetary donations can be dropped off at the parish office, sent in through the school or placed in an envelope (marked “Hurricane Victims”) and dropped in the collection basket at Mass.
The St. Vincent de Paul Jr. Society at St. Francis Xavier School: Collecting school supplies for the schools in the flooded areas of Texas. Please bring all supplies to the school office on Betz Place or the St. Francis Xavier Parish Center. Call Liz Perrin Brisolara for more information, 833-1471.
St. Agnes Church, 3310 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson: Will host a benefit concert, “After the Storm,” by Dr. Louise LaBruyere and the Jefferson Chorale, Sept. 24, at 4:30 p.m.
St. Gertrude Church, Slidell: Collecting baby supplies, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies.
St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, 3101 Eton Street, New Orleans, LA 70131, and Westwego Volunteer Fire Company, 677 Avenue H, Westwego, LA 70094 are accepting gift cards.
Along with other Catholic high schools in St. Tammany (see story by Margaret Baglow), St. Scholastica Academy in Covington is hosting a “Stuff The Bus for Harvey” relief drive.
St. Pius X Church, New Orleans will hold a second collection Sept. 9-10 at all Masses.