The images are so dramatic, it’s hard to believe they’re real — a darkened Manhattan skyline, flooded subway lines, entire blocks of homes burned to the ground, people waiting for hours at gas stations to secure their bit of precious fuel.
Hurricane Sandy devastated portions of the Eastern United States when it made landfall Oct. 29, leaving a path of destruction and heartbreak.
Catholic Charities USA and its agencies are working with local and state governments to provide relief and offer assistance in helping people rebuild their lives after the storm. To donate to its 2012 Disaster Fund, visit Catholic Charities USA’s website at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org, call 800-919-9338 or write to Catholic Charities USA, P.O. Box 17066, Baltimore, MD 21297-1066.
The Knights of Columbus has also joined relief efforts. Learn more at www.kofc.org or write to Knights of Columbus Charities Inc., One Columbus Plaza, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966.
On the local level, several U.S. dioceses have set up special collections for victims.
Our hearts go out to those on the East Coast who are suffering the devastating effects of Sandy. In addition, we remember our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean who have also been harmed by the historic storm. Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, in particular, experienced severe damage to infrastructure and homes. In Cuba alone, an estimated 100,000 homes were damaged, and 90 percent of the island nation’s churches and chapels sustained damage, including the National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity.
Catholic Relief Services is working with partner agencies to respond to the needs of storm victims and is accepting donations for relief work in the region. For information, visit www.crs.org, call 877-435-7277 or mail Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090.
While financial assistance is critical, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has reminded the faithful that spiritual support is also vital in helping storm victims rebuild their lives. Here is a prayer suggested by the U.S. bishops at the website www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/helping-victims-of-hurricane-sandy.cfm:
“God of all mercies, God of all consolation, comfort us in our afflictions that we might comfort those who are in trouble with the same consolation we have received.
“Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Now is the time to submit your entry for OSV Newsweekly’s 28th annual “Christmas Memories” feature. Entries in three categories — Christmas Past, Christmas in Uniform and Christmas Poetry — are due Nov. 21. Remember, maximum length is 300 words and entries are subject to editing. All entries must be true and original. Chosen entries will appear in the Dec. 23 issue.
Mail submissions to Christmas Memories, Our Sunday Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750; or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org (write “Christmas Memories” in the subject line).