Caritas in Solidarity With Hurricane Victims

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 1, 2005 ( Caritas Internationalis offered a special Mass for the victims of Hurricane Katrina at its Vatican City headquarters.

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Caritas’ president also sent a message of solidarity to «the American people» as they try to cope with one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.

In a letter dated Wednesday to the three Caritas member organizations in the United States — Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development — Caritas Internationalis President Denis Viénot notes that «as is usual in any disaster, it was the poor who could not flee [the hurricane] easily who suffered most loss of life.»

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Duncan MacLaren also signed the message.

Hundreds of people are believed to have died from fierce winds and flooding that ravaged parts of at least four Southern states. In New Orleans, tens of thousands of people were believed to be trapped in the city.

«We know that Catholic Charities USA, in particular and its diocesan structures will be assisting the people now and in the future,» the letter states.

Catholic Charities is now collecting financial donations through its Disaster Response Office, which will fund emergency and long-term recovery efforts.

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