Papal Envoy Visits Hurricane Victims

Meets With Bishops and Louisiana Governor

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, SEPT. 12, 2005 ( Archbishop Josef Cordes, Benedict XVI’s special envoy to the peoples affected by Hurricane Katrina, has arrived in the devastated area to give testimony of the Church’s and the Pope’s solidarity.

Archbishop Cordes, who is also president of the Pontifical Council «Cor Unum,» brought material aid to the victims, and celebrated Mass on Sunday in the Baton Rouge cathedral in memory of the victims of the hurricane as well as all victims of violence. Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Later, the Holy See’s delegation, including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., met with the bishops of the area and with the governor of Louisiana.

Later, the papal representatives visited evacuees in Baton Rouge and spoke with numerous people committed to aid operations, in particular with Catholic Charities, as diocesan Caritas groups are called in the United States.

This morning, Archbishop Cordes met with local authorities. In the afternoon he planned to visit Biloxi, Mississippi. The archbishop is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to meet with federal authorities.

The papal envoy’s mission is to encourage and aid the Catholic institutions engaged in the emergency phase of relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office announced school reopenings in St. John and St. Charles parishes and the closing of schools in St. Bernard Parish for the 2005-06 school year.

It also announced the establishment of satellite schools in Baton Rouge where many New Orleans evacuees have taken up residence and where the archdiocese has established its temporary headquarters.

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