Cardinal appeals for Katrina relief

Just one year ago, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of our country leaving a trail of enormous devastation and destruction. You and thousands of others provided immediate humanitarian relief for life’s most basic needs. While the recovery from this disaster is underway, it is far from complete and remains an enormous challenge. Many churches, schools, and other buildings essential to Catholic parish life in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Diocese of Biloxi were destroyed and must be rebuilt.

The bishops of the United States have approved a special national collection, Help Rebuild Church, Rebuild Hope, to be taken-up the weekend of August 26-27, 2006. This collection, Help Rebuild Church, Rebuild Hope, seeks funds to rebuild these parish buildings from the ground up. Insurance payments alone simply will not cover the millions of dollars needed to rebuild churches and parish schools. In the Diocese of Biloxi, 428 of 433 church-owned properties were destroyed or badly damaged. New Orleans reports an estimated $52 million of uninsured flood damage and another $70 million for buildings whose reopening had to be delayed. The situation is critical.

The people of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Diocese of Biloxi face the daunting task of the rebuilding of churches and schools. Our spiritual, financial, and material support will inspire them in rebuilding hope; even as these communities struggle to reclaim their very existence. These buildings are symbols that our Church continues to be a harbor of safety, a true home, and a sign of God’s enduring love and care for both those who remained in the devastated area as well as for the returning exiles.

Archbishop Alfred Hughes, a native son of our archdiocese; and Bishop Thomas Rodi, and all our brothers and sisters in Christ affected by this unimaginable tragedy in New Orleans and Biloxi desperately need our prayers and financial support to Help Rebuild Church, Rebuild Hope.

I ask you to respond generously to the Help Rebuild Church, Rebuild Hope collection on the weekend of August 26-27. Thank you.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

Archbishop of Boston