July 10, 2018

The magnitude of Hurricane Harvey was massive. It swifty destroyed homes, businesses, roadways and churches. Picking up the pieces is heart-breaking, arduous and all-consuming. While much of the world’s attention has turned elsewhere, residents of the most distressed areas are still reeling and facing the daily grind of putting their lives back together.

Parishes, who play a central role in times of crisis, are helping to re-energize and strengthen the spirit of those impacted, but they too were hit hard by the hurricane and are in the process themselves of reconstructing and renovating damaged buildings. Catholic Extension, who has a long history of supporting faith communities in Texas, has announced that it will provide nearly $670,000 in financial assistance to the Diocese of Beaumont, to help its rebuilding efforts.

In Beaumont, funds from Catholic Extension have helped four main projects, including:

  • Holy Family Retreat Center director’s residence restoration, where up to eight feet of water caused catastrophic damage totaling nearly $5M for repairs.
  • St. Joseph Education Buildings restoration in Port Arthur, one of the hardest hit areas. Because catastrophic flooding affected many, more than half of whom are Hispanic, and many are recent immigrants, most are repairing their homes without outside resources and cannot contribute to the offertory. This makes it impossible for them to assist in paying for the gap between insurance and repair costs.
  • Christopher Education Building at St. Mary, Fannett, which was the only building on the property not covered by flood insurance. The building, which had floodwaters present for days, was left extensive mold and could not be used for months.
  • Western Vicariate Sisters is a ministry whose work in three parishes is vital to the largely Hispanic and immigrant communities they serve. While their parishes did not receive damage, many of their parishioners did and are unable to contribute to the offertory, which helps support the Sisters’ work.

Flooding from Hurricane Harvey damaged the sactuary space at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Port Arthur, Texas

In addition to its significant post-hurricane fundraising efforts in Texas, Catholic Extension has committed $1.5 million to the Puerto Rican Church’s pastoral and charitable work, and it will continue to support ongoing financial needs where millions are still suffering.

 

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