National Collection for Hurricane Relief Announced

U.S. Bishops Responding After Storm Pounds Gulf Coast

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 30, 2005 ( The U.S. bishops’ conference announced that a National Collection for Hurricane Relief will be taken up in the 195 Catholic dioceses throughout the country.

Bishop William Skylstad, president of the conference, made the announcement in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which slammed the Gulf States on Monday.

The storm sent a wall of water into Mississippi and led to the break of a levee in New Orleans, flooding the historic city.

Bishop Skylstad said the USCCB has not been able to reach most of the bishops in the affected area because the power and communications are out, but that a request for a national collection had been received.

«The devastation and destruction by Hurricane Katrina is being felt in many dioceses of the United States, but most especially in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama,» the bishop said in a message sent today to all Catholic bishops.

Long-lasting needs

«As the storm proceeds north through Tennessee and Kentucky even more people will be affected,» the prelate continued. «Millions of people are in need of assistance and Catholic Charities will be among the primary responders.

«Catholic Charities USA, working with the local diocesan Catholic Charities, has a professional and well developed system of reviewing the needs and providing help where it can accomplish the most good.»

«The media coverage has made it abundantly clear that the needs will be great, and long lasting,» Bishop Skylstad said.

«At this time there is the possibility of more hurricanes coming in the next several weeks,» he said. «I therefore ask you to please consider taking up a collection in your diocese for the relief of the victims of the hurricanes of this season.»

Bishop Skylstad said diocesan collections or gifts should be sent as soon as possible to:

2005 Hurricane Relief Fund
Catholic Charities USA
PO Box 25168
Alexandria, VA 22313-9788

The Reuters news agency reported that hundreds of people were feared dead from the hurricane, which sent a rush of water into the state of Mississippi.

The city of New Orleans, in neighboring Louisiana, was being flooded with water from nearby Lake Ponchartrain after a levee was breached.

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