SCRANTON – As residents of Florida begin the process of rebuilding their homes and livelihoods after devastation from Hurricane Ian, they will be getting assistance from the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton.
The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, has asked all parishes in the diocese to take up a special collection to donate to the victims of recent hurricanes Fiona and Ian. Many will hold that special collection on the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16, 2022.
“In view of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Ian and Fiona in the southeast United States starting in Florida, but also Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, many lives have been lost along with severe damage and destruction to properties,” Bishop Bambera wrote in a letter to priests of the diocese asking them to organize a special collection.
Hurricane Fiona brought winds up to 85 mph and more than 20 inches of rain to Puerto Rico on Sept. 18, knocking out water and power on the island.
Over 1,000 people were rescued as the storm flooded streets, caused mudslides and destroyed infrastructure.
On Sept. 23, five days before Fiona dissipated, Hurricane Ian formed, first striking Cuba, and then making landfall in the Ft. Myers, Florida area on Sept. 28, as a Category 4 storm. When Ian plowed into southwest Florida, the top gust recorded by a National Weather Service station was 155 mph at the Punta Gorda airport north of Fort Myers.
Though Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm, it regained strength and regrouped as a hurricane before heading toward South Carolina.
The funds collected in the Diocese of Scranton’s special collection will become part of the USCCB Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund. The money will support the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services, the official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Both Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Relief Services are already on the ground, assisting local agencies in providing humanitarian relief, supplying food, water and sanitation assistance. Repair and rebuilding of homes will take place as soon as possible.
As he concluded his letter, Bishop Bambera stated, “I thank you for your prayerful consideration and generous response to those in need.”