Sunday, August 29, 2010

Archbishop Aymond reflects on Katrina

>>>From the website of the Archdiocese of New Orleans:

Reflections on the 5th Commemoration of Hurricane Katrina
By: Archbishop Gregory Aymond
Sunday August 29th 2010
by: Archbishop Aymond
This weekend will undoubtedly be a weekend of remembrance for many in our community. We will come together to remember the tragic events of five years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit our region and flooded much of the area. We will remember in prayer those who lost their lives in the tragedy, and we will remember our own personal losses. It would be easy to allow those feelings of confusion, anxiety, and despair from five years ago to creep back into our heads and spirits, but today, we must ask God to help us to rise above those feelings and allow our loving God to replace them with renewed feelings of faith and hope. We must have faith in our future as a community. We should feel humble pride over the accomplishments of the past five years. We must have hope!

As someone who was not living in New Orleans when Katrina struck, I cannot begin to fully understand the emotions that those who lived through this event faced. Katrina left not only physical destruction, but emotional destruction in her wake. Though I do not pretend to know what it truly was like then, what I do know is that the strength of people in this area is amazing. I am constantly inspired by the stories of those who have rebuilt and those who found solace in their faith and in love of God, family and neighbor. This is what makes New Orleans special. Your faith in God inspires me!

For those that are still re-building, I pledge the resources of the local Catholic Church to help you on your journey. I promise to do all within our means to help you though your pain and your struggles and to be the heart of Jesus Christ to you in your time of need.

As we look with faith to the future, even in the face of a new Gulf of Mexico tragedy, we must hold onto our inspiring energy that has allowed New Orleans to overcome fires, Yellow Fever epidemics, floods and hurricanes for generations. We must not forget Katrina, but must use those experiences to grow and strengthen our families and communities so that we may be an example of God’s hope to our neighbors and the rest of the country.

This weekend, I have asked for all parishes in the archdiocese to say a special Mass in honor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor thanking her for her prayers and asking her intercession with her son, Jesus for ongoing protection for our region. I will also be joining leaders from various religions and faith traditions for an Interfaith Prayer Service on Sunday at 1:30 pm at St. Louis Cathedral. All are welcome to join us in prayer.

From God, we have been given a great gift: the gift of life, and I pray that we may all live with faith and hope for many years to come in gratitude to God for his compassion and strength in challenging times.

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