Responding to the needs of those devastated by Hurricane Harvey, and a request by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for prayers and help for disaster victims, the Diocese of Palm Beach and its 53 Catholic Churches and missions will conduct a special collection at its weekend Masses to assist the flood victims of the storm. Funds given to the collection will support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA and will provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses through the USCCB. Catholic Charities USA is the official domestic relief agency of the USCCB.
The Diocese of Palm Beach has asked its Catholic Churches to conduct a special collection at weekend Masses on either September 16th & 17th or September 23rd & 24th. Parishioners should write the checks payable to their parish and in the memo section should state “Hurricane Harvey Fund.” The diocese will send 100 percent of the funds collected to Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Charities in the path of the storm which are helping impacted communities. Parishioners may make a donation during their weekly offering and at their church office.
In announcing the national emergency special collection, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated how assistance and prayers are greatly needed.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses along with their sense of peace and normalcy," said Archbishop Gomez. "We also stand with our brother bishops in the region who have the difficult task of providing pastoral care in these most trying times while managing their own losses. Our prayerful and financial support is urgently needed."
Catholic Charities organizations based in southeast Texas are on the scene providing relief, aid and comfort including food, shelter, clothing and other necessities; counseling services; and spiritual care to displaced persons. Catholic Charities is working closely with local state agencies and with the USCCB and St. Vincent de Paul to assess the needs on the ground. Upon the request of the local Catholic Charities in Texas, Catholic Charities USA is encouraging financial donations at this time due to a lack of logistics/infrastructure, cost and storage.
It is not just financial support the Diocese of Palm Beach is asking from its faith community but ongoing prayers for the people of Texas, Louisiana, First Responders, medical staff and other emergency personnel.
Sheila Gomez, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach and part of the Florida Natural Disaster Network, expects the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities around the country to be involved in recovery efforts for an extended period of time.
“The Catholic Charities network and Catholic Charities USA has a history and experience in providing short-term and long-term recovery assistance to disaster victims. The impact of this severe flooding on residents and communities in Texas will be felt for years to come. They will be in need of Case Management, financial assistance, and the basic necessities. It’s going to be a long process and we are committed to being involved in the recovery efforts as long as there is a need,” said Gomez.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach has been in contact with state emergency officials and networks in Florida as well as Catholic Charities USA. The diocese’s Catholic Charities is considered to be on “stand-by” to send Case Managers and counselors to be part of the team that will help the relief agencies already assisting flood victims.
Aside from donating at one of the diocese’s Catholic churches, the Diocese of Palm Beach is also making the public aware of other ways to donate to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Those include:
Diocese of Palm Beach
9995 N. Military Trail
P.O. Box 109650
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410-9650
The Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach encompasses the five counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee. Comprised of 280,000 Catholics in 53 parishes and missions, the Diocese also serves the faithful community through its schools.