Last week was a shocking day for many Midwesterners in southern Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio as severe storms surged across the nation producing high winds, hail and tornadic weather. Hours following the storm, news reports revealed the loss of precious lives and suffering of families whose homes were ruined and lives turned upside down from the weather.
A large volunteer effort to help those in need has been developing from across the state and nation to clean up southern Indiana and other damaged towns as residents look to rebuild and start over.
When a family at St. Alphonsus Liguori received an update from their friend Father Whittington, Pastor at Saint John the Baptist in Osgood, Ind., movement started to occur to find ways our parish could help these communities affected by the storms.
Nestled in Henryville, Ind., a town hit by tornado weather, is St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church another parish with families rebuilding from the devastation. The church that not only served as a shelter for individuals during the storm, but has been opening its with the help of the community and Catholic Charities to provide meals, labor, essential supplies, spiritual support and counseling to families.
Father Steve Schaftlein, Pastor at St. Francis Xavier, has been updating everyone on their effort through written online posts published almost daily since the storm. He continues to thank God for the help that has come to serve the people, and he continues to ask for prayer.
Read updates by Fr. Schaftlein
Read New York Times article about St. Francis and storm relief efforts
Several parishes throughout the diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are collecting funds to send to Catholic Charities of Indianapolis as the organization continues to send immediate aid and relief services to areas affected by the storms.
Read ArchIndy.org updates on storm support and clean up
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, stated in an ArchIndy.org news article on March 9, 2012, "The thoughts, prayers and helping hands of the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis go out to all the victims of Friday's tornadoes in southern Indiana, especially to the families of those killed in the storms," Bishop Coyne said in a statement. "Catholic Charities is ready to respond with immediate aid, and we will work with the local Catholic communities and other aid agencies to coordinate future efforts to repair and rebuild homes and businesses."
Please pray for the the people of Henryville and all areas that have suffered during the storms, along with their families, friends and those who have passed. This is a large cross that many are having to bare, but through our love, prayers and efforts, we can help them carry it.