Hurricane Ida: Catholics Offer Aid, Prayers for Survivors and All Affected

At least one Catholic church near New Orleans has opened its doors to serve as an emergency shelter.

Louisiana National Guardsmen rescue people in LaPlace, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. More than 6,000 members of the National Guard from more than a dozen states are in Louisiana assisting state and federal partners with relief efforts.
Louisiana National Guardsmen rescue people in LaPlace, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. More than 6,000 members of the National Guard from more than a dozen states are in Louisiana assisting state and federal partners with relief efforts. (photo: Photo courtesy of the Louisiana National Guard via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) / Photo courtesy of the Louisiana National Guard via Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

At least one Catholic church near New Orleans has opened its doors to serve as an emergency shelter amid widespread power outages and flooding caused by Hurricane Ida. 

St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie, adjoining New Orleans to the west, opened its doors to serve as an emergency overnight shelter for 34 residents of the seven-story Metairie Towers apartment building across the street, the Clarion-Herald, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, reported. 

Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, urged prayers this week for those affected by the disaster. 

“I call on people of goodwill to join me in praying for the safety, well-being and protection of everyone in these impacted areas. We also pray in a special way for the first responders, health-care workers, and emergency personnel who bring relief, comfort and healing,” Archbishop Gomez wrote.

“I urge our Catholic faithful and all people of goodwill across the country to stand in solidarity with these impacted communities,” he said, recommending that all people of goodwill consider donating to Catholic Charities USA to help with relief efforts. 

Catholic Charities USA has said it will direct 100% of the funds raised through texts of “HurrIda” to 41444 to its agencies with residents impacted by Hurricane Ida.  

Mayor LaToya Cantrell imposed an 8pm to 6am curfew on New Orleans last night, amid widespread power outages. Several deaths have been reported, including that of a man who was attacked by an alligator while walking through floodwaters. 

Ida, a category-4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, made landfall in Southeast Louisiana on Sunday exactly 16 years after Hurricane Katrina. 

Amid the damage, the Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Aug. 30 that all schools and archdiocesan main administrative offices would remain closed until at least Sept. 6. In the nearby Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, all Catholic schools will remain closed “until further notice.”

Flooding and tornadoes were left in the wake of the storm as it continued through states toward the Northeast. Northeastern states declared emergencies late Wednesday and early Thursday as damage and deaths were reported.

Register staff added to this report.

Oscar Wergeland, “Service in a German Village Church,” ca. 1880

This Sunday, I’ll Be Going to Church. Will You Join Me?

“The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” [CCC 2181]