The vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a special nationwide collection in upcoming weeks to aid victims and dioceses affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses along with their sense of peace and normalcy,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles in an Aug. 28 letter.

“We also stand with our brother bishops in the region who have the difficult task of providing pastoral care in these most trying times while managing their own losses. Our prayerful and financial support is urgently needed,” he said.

He suggested that his fellow bishops across the country hold a collection in their dioceses during Sunday Masses on the weekend of Sept. 2-3 or Sept. 9-10.

Money received from the collection will aid the recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA, and will also support affected dioceses throughout southeast Texas, including efforts to rebuild churches damaged by the storm.

According to a report from the National Weather Service, some areas of Houston have received more than 40 inches of rain since Aug. 24, and authorities have encouraged residents to keep hope and search for higher ground while waiting to be rescued.

In an Aug. 29 briefing held by Houston’s officials, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the authorities will continue to focus on search and rescue efforts. The chief of police, Art Acevedo, said the rescue count so far has been “well over 3500.”

Archbishop Gomez applauded the efforts of authorities so far.

Together with U.S. bishops’ conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and the bishops throughout the affected region, he said, “I express deep gratitude to the first responders and countless volunteers who are assisting the Gulf Coast region in countless ways.”