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Donate to help those hit by Irma and Maria

Published: September 22, 2017

For the second time in a month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has organized an emergency national collection to help those devastated by hurricanes. This time, it refers to hurricanes Irma and Maria, which caused loss of life and wide-spread destruction in the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. Bishop Anthony B. Taylor has responded by asking parishioners in the Diocese of Little Rock to donate during any Mass celebrated Sept. 23-24 or Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

According to Catholic News Service, Hurricane Irma "leveled entire islands in the eastern Caribbean, brought unprecedented flooding on Cuba's north coast, devastated the Florida Keys, snapped construction cranes in downtown Miami and targeted cities along Florida's Gulf Coast" with its 120-mile-per-hour winds that stretched 70 miles from its core. Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long explained that in the Florida Keys alone, 25 percent of the homes were destroyed while 65 percent had significant damage.

"To give again will be a sacrifice for many of you, but the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s deadly path, and now Hurricane Maria, is so great, that we have to respond with as much love and generosity as we can."

Hurricane Maria was even stronger. Catholic News Service reported that as of Sept. 22, at least 15 people were killed in Puerto Rico, and 14 deaths were reported on Dominica. Two others were killed in Guadeloupe and one on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most of Puerto Rico remains without communication or electricity, so authorities are just beginning to access the damage. It is estimated that it will take months to fully restore electricity. When the hurricane hit, it tore out cables, roofs from homes and buildings, uprooted palm trees and even bent a cross anchored to a cement post at a Jesuit school.

"To give again will be a sacrifice for many of you, but the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s deadly path, and now Hurricane Maria, is so great, that we have to respond with as much love and generosity as we can," Bishop Taylor wrote in his Sept. 19 letter to all parishes. "Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Caribbean, in Florida, and in the southern United States need our help. It will take months for their long-term recovery needs to be met and for the reconstruction of their local churches. Let us keep all these efforts in our prayers, and especially pray for those who have lost so much."

Donations collected in this one-time, special appeal for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria relief will be used to support Catholic Church relief agencies as they provide humanitarian aid in the form of water, food, shelter and medical care, as well as long-term efforts to restore communities after widespread destruction, and the USCCB for pastoral and reconstruction aid to the Church in the Caribbean and the United States.

Donations may also be mailed directly to the diocese. Please note "Hurricane Irma Emergency Collection" on the memo line of the check and address it to:

Hurricane Irma Emergency Collection
Finance Office
Diocese of Little Rock
P.O. Box 7565
Little Rock, AR  72217-7565