Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This last week, we were again reminded to pray in solidity for all those who suffered so greatly in the effects of Hurricane Irma. While we are still in process of assisting with the recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey, our further response must never linger when there are people in great need, especially after seeing what has been reported regarding our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, in the Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands, in Florida and in other areas of the southern United States.
I am renewing my respectful request for your support for those in great need now with regard to Hurricane Irma and ask that you participate as you can in a special collection on the weekend of September 30th- October 1st or as soon as possible thereafter when your pastor or pastoral administrator can make the necessary preparations. Kindly discern how you may assist in this effort, as always out of the generosity we first know in the blessings which Our Lord has given to us. Please also continue to keep those so affected by this storm and Hurricane Harvey among your intentions, as well as all those assisting them in the recovery efforts.
With my gratitude in Christ,
+ Luis R. Zarama
Bishop of Raleigh
In leading the Church in the United States in this relief effort, His Eminence, Cardinal Daniel D. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called upon the Bishops of our country assist. The complete web story is as follows:
September 14, 2017
WASHINGTON—The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited his brother bishops to take up an emergency collection the weekend of September 23-24 on behalf of those devastated in parts of the Caribbean and southeastern United States by Hurricane Irma. In the letter sent to bishops today, Cardinal DiNardo says the emergency collection is greatly needed to help victims of Hurricane Irma rebuild their lives and also help support reconstruction needs of churches destroyed or severely damaged in the U.S. and Caribbean.
Cardinal DiNardo's letter to the bishops follows:
"In the past few days Hurricane Irma devastated significant parts of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. While emergency outreach was immediate, we know that the road to recovery and the rebuilding of communities will be long and additional support will be needed.
"I write to you today and ask that you take up an emergency collection for those impacted by Hurricane Irma. These funds will be used in the affected areas to support humanitarian aid, assistance with long-term efforts to restore communities after widespread destruction, and for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in US and the Caribbean.
"I am aware that this call comes on the heels of the emergency collection for Hurricane Harvey. That storm, which hit Texas and Louisiana and held on for days before moving inland, caused catastrophic damage and compelled us to respond. Likewise, Hurricane Irma has been devastating and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, especially the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and the southern US need our help.
"The Church is a channel for grace and solidarity in the wake of natural disasters as it offers solace and support in their aftermath. However, as is so often the case, the Church itself in these regions is both a long-standing provider of aid and now is in need of tremendous assistance itself. So many of the Church's structures have been damaged and their resources depleted which makes it even more challenging to provide assistance and pastoral outreach to those in need."