The Archdiocese of San Antonio’s response to those affected by Hurricane Harvey continues to grow.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, and Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), called on dioceses and parishes to take up a special collection to support victims of Hurricane Harvey and to provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses.
Archbishop Gustavo and the USCCB requested that the collection be held in parishes in the Archdiocese of San Antonio during the weekend of Sept. 2-3 or Sept. 9-10.
Funds given to the collection will support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA and will provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses through the USCCB. The hurricane has caused tremendous damage in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. As a result, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of USSCB, has asked Archbishop Gomez to coordinate this effort on the national level.
The bishops of Texas requested that all Catholic parishes in the state hold a Holy Hour on Sept. 7, at 7 p.m., and that church bells be rung at the start of the prayer service.
The 39 Catholic schools of the archdiocese are assisting young evacuees from the hurricane by offering enrollment in Catholic schools without the burden of tuition for up to 90 days. Counselors are prepared to work with families to ensure they and their children have the resources necessary to regain a sense of safety and support with direct counseling services, school-wide community support for basic needs, and in connecting the families with Catholic Charities and other local resources for their long-term needs. They have also dedicated resources to facilitate the placement of students in schools based on the local and academic needs of their students through the Catholic Schools Office. Additionally, the Department of Catholic Schools is coordinating efforts to partner with schools in the rebuilding efforts in impacted areas to provide support now and in the months to come with school supplies, instructional resources and materials.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio is currently accepting donations for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. All donations can be dropped off at the Catholic Charities main office at the site of the former St. Stephen Church at 2127 South Zarzamora in San Antonio from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Items needed are diapers, blankets, clothing, cases of bottled water, unused pillows, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, gift cards, and non-perishable food items.
For those interested in volunteering, go to the Catholic Charities volunteer page: ccaosa.givepulse.com for updates about volunteer opportunities. For additional information regarding Catholic Charities and the organization’s relief efforts to evacuees here as well as dioceses impacted by this tragedy, call Tanner Lopez at (210) 849-1685 or Stephanie Vorpahl, Catholic Charities Parish Outreach Coordinator, at (210) 440-6755.
Monetary donations are being accepted, and 100 percent of all funds collected will go to the victims of the hurricane. Online donations can also be made to: https://ccaosa.ejoinme.org/HHRelief
Catholic Charities of the archdiocese and its volunteers have assisted thousands of displaced persons in several shelters with thousands of items of clothing, 2,000 packages of diapers, blankets, pillows, and care packages containing bars of soap, toothpaste, and personal hygiene items.
Donations of water, food, diapers, and cleaning supplies were being taken to the Diocese of Corpus Christi on Friday, Sept. 1. They were loaded by more than 100 volunteers onto several large trucks on Aug. 31.
- Antonio Fernandez, president/CEO of Catholic Charities of the archdiocese, emphasizes that the donations are needed not only to assist the hurricane evacuees, but to replenish supplies from the Guadalupe Community Center on the West Side of the city, which daily serves those in need in the San Antonio community. He added, “I am incredibly proud of the employees and volunteers of Catholic Charities who have been working day and night and have helped thousands of people.”
Other relief efforts from some Catholic entities:
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System: Special support equipment including a chiller, generator, pumps, fans and dehumidifiers were sent from CHRISTUS Santa Rosa to its sister facility in Beaumont to help with weathering the effects of Harvey. In addition, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa relocated pediatric patients from the Corpus Christi area and from CHRISTUS Spohn Hospitals. To handle the patient influx, they also activated additional staff from other CHRISTUS facilities across the state to come to San Antonio, as well as to assist those areas impacted by this natural disaster.
Society of St. Vincent De Paul continues to respond to needs of evacuees in conferences across this area.
Catholic universities: Our Lady of the Lake University filled a U-Haul truck with food, water, and new clothing on Aug. 31, delivering to Catholic Charities and the food bank, to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. At St. Mary’s University, the Civic Engagement Office is coordinating volunteer opportunities, and University Ministry and Counseling Center services are available to the campus community.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio will continue to look for ways to assist these people who have suffered so much from Hurricane Harvey.