Bishop asks for generosity to special flood relief collection

In response to the loss the life, destruction of property and catastrophic flooding that Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on south Texas and Louisiana, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor is asking parishioners in the Diocese of Little Rock to donate to a nationwide emergency collection to be taken up at all Masses this weekend, Sept. 2-3.

The Category 4 hurricane made landfall Aug. 25 with heavy rains and winds of 130 miles per hour in the Rockport, Texas area, northeast of Corpus Christi. The National Weather Service said Aug. 27 that the rainfall after the hurricane and storm "are beyond anything experienced before," according to Catholic News Service. The most affected areas are in the Diocese of Victoria and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, where thousands of people have evacuated flooded homes and communities and remain in emergency shelters across the region.

The funds collected in this one-time special appeal for Hurricane Harvey Relief 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 necessities such as water, food, shelter and medical care as well as to the long term needs to rebuild and recover after widespread destruction, and of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for pastoral and reconstruction aid to the Church.

Bishop Taylor released the following letter Aug. 29 regarding the collection:

Dear friends,

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast August 25 and has since caused catastrophic devastation to people’s lives and livelihoods. This incredibly destructive storm has been called “historic” and “unprecedented” for its 130 mph winds and excessive rainfall measured in feet.

We have all seen the images of people wading through high flood waters, some holding tight to loved ones or pets, homes and businesses under water and heroic rescue efforts by first responders and volunteers. And tragically lives have been lost. Seeing these moving images compel us to want to do something.

While we all cannot travel to Texas to provide aid firsthand, we can help those in need by giving generously to a special collection that will be taken up at this Mass and at all the Masses this weekend in our diocese. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will use this emergency collection “both to support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA and to provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted Catholic dioceses.”

There are thousands of people in Texas who have been displaced and must depend on the generosity and love of their brothers and sisters in Christ. And we in Arkansas know all too well what they are facing as the long-term recovery process because of our own rebuilding experiences after tornados and flooding.

Let us commit to lift up in our prayers those who face a daunting recovery effort, especially that they not lose hope. May they be sustained by God’s love through good people like yourselves who care about them. And I thank you for your generosity and prayers.

Yours in Christ,

+Anthony B. Taylor

Bishop of Little Rock

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