OCA Issues Appeal For Hurricane Katrina Victims
- 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 Director
info@... or tocmed@...
ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA ISSUES APPEAL FOR HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIMS
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
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