A letter from Bishop John Noonan
Entering the last weeks of Advent 2015, we received a powerful reminder of how important it is for us to bring the love and care of Jesus to all who suffer. Severe weather, in the form of violent storms, tornados and floods, impacted states in the South and Midwest regions of our country. Additional major flooding is expected over the next several weeks as rivers and tributaries continue to rise. As that happens and the weather continues to grow colder, communities might very well have to contend with freezing and icing of their initial flood damage. And while the poor are the hardest hit by these conditions, many will have vast unmet needs. Unfortunately, the traditional “storm seasons” seem to have given way to much more unpredictable weather and natural disasters seem to be increasingly commonplace.
The bishops throughout the United States have agreed to take up a special collection for the humanitarian and Church needs from these storms. In the Diocese of Orlando, the weekend of January 16-17 has been set aside for this one-time special appeal. The funds collected for the 2015-2016 storms and other natural disasters will be used to support the efforts of Catholic Charities USA, the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, as they and their member agencies respond to immediate emergency needs for such necessities as water, food, shelter, and medical care, as well as to the long term need to rebuild and recover after widespread destruction, and to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church.
We continue to pray for all the people including relief service workers and others affected by these weather events. May we announce the Good News that what God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us.