The damage done by Hurricane Harvey is a cause for prayer and preparation to help the storm’s victims, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has said.
“As the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, this crisis hits very close to home,” conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said Aug. 27. “In solidarity with my brother bishops in this area of the country, I call on people of faith to pray for all of those who have been impacted by this hurricane, and I ask people of good will to stand with the victims and their families.
“May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion, protect all who are still in danger, and bring to safety those who are missing. May He care in a special way for those who were already homeless, or without support and resources, before this disaster,” the cardinal said.
The cardinal said the storm was “catastrophic and devastating” and many dioceses have been affected.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 storm. It has killed at least two people. More than 1,000 had to be rescued. Many thousands are trapped by the water, CNN reports.
Although the hurricane has been downgraded to a tropical storm, the National Weather Service said the flooding was catastrophic, unprecedented and expected to continue for days. Up to 50 inches of rain could fall on some parts of Texas.
Several international airports in Texas, and a Houston hospital has evacuated after flooding caused power loss.
The City of Dallas has said it will turn its convention center into a shelter to host up to 5,000 evacuees.
Cardinal DiNardo said the U.S. bishops’ conference is working closely with local dioceses, Catholic Charities USA and St. Vincent de Paul societies, as well as other relief organizations.
The bishops’ conference will share more information about how best to aid hurricane victims.
The cardinal prayed in thanksgiving for the first responders who have put their lives at risk.
“We include in our intentions the everyday heroes reaching out to help their neighbors in need, those who, like the Good Samaritan, cannot walk by a person in need without offering their hand in aid,” he said.
Cardinal DiNardo concluded with a general prayer: “May God bless you and your families this day and always,” he said.