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Archpastoral Message: response to the Hurricane Katrina Tragedy

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.oca.org/News.asp?ID=836&SID=19 Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman in response to the Hurricane Katrina Tragedy Article
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
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      http://www.oca.org/News.asp?ID=836&SID=19

      Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman in response to
      the Hurricane Katrina Tragedy

      Article posted: 9/1/2005 3:50 PM

      August 31, 2005

      Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

      Several days ago, as we awaited the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, we called
      upon the faithful to pray that those in the direct line of the storm would
      be spared. Initial reports indicated that the hurricane's devastation had
      perhaps been less than anticipated, especially as the eye of the storm
      bypassed the city of New Orleans. Within 48 hours, however, it became
      evident that the Mississippi and Alabama coasts had borne the brunt of the
      storm, that New Orleans had experienced massive damage as a result of
      broken levees and rising water levels, and that severe - and in some cases
      total - destruction of property had become widespread throughout the region.

      Of utmost concern, however, is the well-being of those who have suffered,
      and continue to suffer, in ways hard to imagine. Hundreds of thousands of
      people, many of them among the nation's poorest, have lost everything -
      their homes, their possessions, their access to food and water and life's
      basic essentials, and in a growing number of instances, their loved ones.
      Countless others still wait to be rescued, hoping to avoid the fate of
      those who perished because they lacked the means to evacuate their homes or
      because they simply had nowhere to go. The most recent reports project that
      hundreds, if not thousands, have lost their lives, even as the hopes of
      those who escaped the worst rapidly diminishes.

      While Hurricane Katrina itself was nothing less than catastrophic, its
      aftermath and its effect on the lives of so many is nothing short of
      horrible. How, many ask, are those most affected by the storm and its
      aftermath to find the comfort of God? To whom can they turn in their hour
      of need?

      My dear brothers and sisters: We are now being called upon to provide the
      hope, comfort, and love of God. As God's People, we are being challenged to
      offer our prayers and to share our treasures with those who have lost
      everything. To the extent that we render thanks to God for sparing us from
      this tragedy - and for sparing our parishes in the region from serious
      damage - we also are being called upon to share with those who must rely on
      our generosity, and the generosity of all people of faith, in an effort to
      rebuild not only their homes, but most importantly, their lives.

      In response to the challenge to serve others, especially the least of the
      brethren, I call upon our faithful, our parishes, our deaneries, and our
      dioceses to make yet another sacrifice for others by contributing to the
      Hurricane Disaster Response Fund that has been established by International
      Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). It is hoped that all parish
      communities will take a special collection in the immediate future. Your
      generous expressions of concern and hope will be channeled through IOCC,
      which has already dispatched teams to the most affected areas and has the
      means to maximize your donations and expressions of concern. Your gifts may
      be sent to IOCC "Hurricane Relief," PO Box 630225, Baltimore, Maryland,
      21263-0225, or by calling IOCC's toll-free donation hotline (877-803-4622).
      On the memo line of your checks, please make the notation "Hurricane
      Relief/OCA."

      I pray that you will join me in offering a ray of hope to those who have
      experienced unimaginable suffering and loss, and who are likely to continue
      to experience personally the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for months and
      years to come. Anticipating your generous response, I thank you, and I ask
      that God bless you abundantly, to the extent that you share your blessings
      with those in need.

      With love in Christ,


      + HERMAN
      Archbishop of Washington and New York
      Metropolitan of All America and Canada
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      IOCC Web site: http://www.iocc.org/
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