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OCA Issues Appeal For Hurricane Katrina Victims

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    2005.09.01 OCA: MEDIA RELEASE / ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA PO Box 675 Syosset, New York 11791-0675 Contact: The Very Rev. John Matusiak OCA Communications
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
      2005.09.01 OCA:

      PO Box 675
      Syosset, New York 11791-0675

      Contact: The Very Rev. John Matusiak
      OCA Communications Director
      info@... or tocmed@...



      SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- In a letter dated August 31,
      2005, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America,
      appealed to the Church's faithful to "give sacrificially" to help the
      many individuals and families in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama
      devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

      In order to maximize relief efforts, Metropolitan Herman asks that
      the faithful send their donations directly to the Baltimore-based
      Orthodox Christian Charities, which has already dispatched teams to
      the affected region.

      Contributions may be sent to the 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."

      The complete text of Metropolitan Herman's appeal follows below and
      appears on the OCA web site at www.oca.org.

      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.

      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,

      Archbishop of Washington and New York
      Metropolitan of All America and Canada
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