NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, OCT. 3, 2005 (Zenit.org).- New Orleans’ archbishop is turning to the Internet to keep in touch with the faithful dispersed by Hurricane Katrina.
In a letter written nearly a month after the disaster, Archbishop Alfred Hughes invites the faithful of New Orleans to access the archdiocese’s Web site, www.arch-no.org, to receive updated information.
“Even if you do not have the capability of direct access, perhaps this will be possible through someone that you know,” he exhorts in his letter, which the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples carried.
The Web site asks all present and former faithful of all the parishes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans to fill out a form in order to carry out a census of the local Church. They are asked to indicate their present situation and their intention to return to their parish of origin.
“As the Archbishop of New Orleans, and a fellow evacuee, I share in your sufferings, hold you in prayer and want to serve you in your needs,” wrote Archbishop Hughes in his recent letter.
He added that the evacuees “owe great gratitude to the host dioceses [that] have welcomed and assisted us.”
“I am particularly grateful to Bishop Muench and the Diocese of Baton Rouge for the extraordinary way in which they have received more than 200,000 New Orleanians and facilitated the development of a central administration in exile for the Archdiocese,” wrote the prelate.
In his “Letter to the Displaced of New Orleans,” Archbishop Hughes said that Hurricane Katrina “caused enormous suffering in the overwhelming loss of life, loss of homes, churches, schools and way of life.”
“Our first concern has been for the people: their rescue, their basic physical needs, medical care and communications with loved ones,” he continued.
Therefore, the archbishop rejoiced “in the extraordinary work that Catholic Charities of New Orleans is accomplishing in conjunction with Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge and other relief agencies.”
Churchgoers gathered at St. Louis Cathedral for the first Sunday Mass celebrated in the landmark since the hurricane left New Orleans swamped a month ago.
“The structure which harbors the soul of our city has come back to life,” Archbishop Hughes told the 900 people on hand. “Thanks be to God.”
The cathedral in the French Quarter was originally built in 1727. The first Church of St. Louis lasted 61 years, until it was destroyed by fire. The triple-spired cathedral was rebuilt on the same location.