BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
The Diocese of Owensboro is taking strides to assist those suffering from the historic floods in Kerala state, India.
In an Aug. 21, 2018 letter sent to the priests of the diocese, Bishop William F. Medley spoke of the extreme flooding affecting southwest India.
“Most of the Heralds of Good News priests serving in our diocese come from this region of India, and the flooding is having a direct and devastating impact on their families and loved ones,” wrote Bishop Medley.
The Heralds of Good News is a religious community of men, based out of India, which often sends missionary priests to dioceses experiencing a local vocations shortage. Currently, six “Heralds” priests are serving at parishes around the diocese.
In his letter, Bishop Medley said the situation in Kerala has been referred to as “the flood of the century,” with hundreds of people dead and “more than a million individuals displaced and living in camps.”
“The government of India estimates that the damage caused by the flooding and landslides will cost more than $1.1 billion U.S. dollars,” wrote the bishop. “The loss of life and property is extensive and the human suffering profound.”
He said homes have been swept away by the flooding, food and clean water are scarce, and people have lost all of their possessions apart from what they could carry to higher ground.
Bishop Medley said the Catholic Church in India – including the Heralds of Good News – have joined in relief efforts by opening parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions for displaced people.
The bishop asked that a special collection be held in the Diocese of Owensboro on the weekends of Aug. 25-26 or Sept. 1-2 to send to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) representatives providing assistance in Wayanad District – one of the worst-hit regions.
Donations are not limited to those two weekends, however. People of the Diocese of Owensboro may continue sending money by writing checks to “Diocese of Owensboro” with “Kerala relief” written in the memo line. The diocese will then forward the contributions to the Heralds of Good News and CRS.
“I am asking that you inform the people of your parish of the tragedy happening in Kerala and of our direct connection through the Heralds of Good News serving among us here,” wrote the bishop. “There is never a shortage of human need in our world. I pray that in this moment, when we observe the devastation of so many, we may all continue the rich Gospel tradition of responding to those in need.”
Copyright © 2018 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic