As weekends go this Permanent Deacon had a busy yet good weekend. I got the obligatory grass cutting done, spent ample time working on many upcoming ministry responsibilities, assisted at 3 masses this weekend, helping a visiting Priest, and had not one but two very fun Skype sessions with the grandbabies!
A fairly large part of the weekend was spent watching the Olympics with Wendy; we are kind of Olympic junkies! We realize that we will watch a sporting event we would not otherwise watch normally except this is the Olympics. Wendy loves the various events while I argue to watch only those things that team USA has a chance to win a medal. In any event, we sure did enjoy this but I am glad they are over!
So a nice pleasant and busy weekend so why do I feel guilty. It's all about the difference of 40, or 50, or 100 miles. You see just to our west there is nothing normal for our Louisiana neighbors. I hope you won't grow weary as I continue to post about this. The size and scope of the latest weather disaster to visit Louisiana is huge. The incomprehensible number of homes, businesses, schools and churches that are damaged severely is overwhelming. Yet everybody is doing all they can. I rejoice at all the fundraising efforts underway. I rejoice at the number of people who are purchasing much needed things; food, water and supplies and finding a way to get them to the impacted areas. And I rejoice at the sheer number of people who have decided to just drive to the flood zone to show up and go to work. In my parish I talked to a family who was on the way to Denham Springs to help gut houses. Several of our Catholic parishes sent teams, Knights of Columbus are on the ground along with Catholic Charities. So many other churches and faith traditions are doing the same. This all gives me hope that things will improve, folks will be made whole again. But I'm not delusional; it will take a long time and lot's of effort. How can our existence, just two or three parishes (counties) over be so normal and these people experiencing so much pain. I guess this is why I feel guilty. Like many, I am doing and will do what I can. I just can't get these neighbors pain out of my mind.
If you are reading this from anywhere, consider, in your own prayer and discernment, making a donation. I am strongly recommending Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge or Catholic Charities of New Orleans. If you contact me directly at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com I can help direct your effort!
So long weekend, it's back to work, and a week full of ministry and the Olympics are over. But for my neighbors to the west, the pain continues, the hard work goes on. And some how I hope they all know, so does the prayers, the donations, the desire to help and the hope that one day this will be but a memory.
Pray for south Louisiana!