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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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Church, political leaders extend prayers to Oklahoma victims
5/21/2013 6:05:00 PM
Washington D.C., May 21, 2013 / 05:05 pm (
).- Following a devastating tornado in Oklahoma on May 20, Church leaders and national figures from the offered their prayers and condolences for those affected by the disaster.
“The experience of loss of family members, homes, neighborhoods, and even the local hospital, shows a devastation that impels us to stand with you and all the good people of Moore both in prayer for comfort and in efforts for disaster relief to ease the suffering of those whose lives have been affected by this dreadful disaster,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York said to Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City in a May 21 letter.
“May the words of Jesus, 'Behold I am with you always,' and who calmed the storms, bring hope and comfort at this sensitive moment in the history of your diocese,” said the cardinal, who serves as president of the U.S. bishops' conference.
“May all those affected by such pain feel the strength God offers them and the compassion of all who stand with them, be it in their hometown or miles away.”
On the afternoon of May 20, a EF-5 tornado traveled through central Okla. As of Tuesday afternoon, 24 individuals were confirmed to be dead, including nine children, and over 230 people have reported injuries.
The majority of the damage occurred in Moore, Okla., in the northwest suburbs of Oklahoma City. This is the fifth significant tornado to strike the town since 1998.
President Barack Obama also offered his condolences and prayers, and vowed that the American people would “back up those prayers with deeds for as long as it takes.”
“For all those who’ve been affected, we recognize that you face a long road ahead,” Mr. Obama said. “In some cases, there will be enormous grief that has to be absorbed. But you will not travel that path alone. Your country will travel it with you, fueled by our faith in the almighty and our faith in one another,” the president said.
Obama has also approved a Major Disaster Declaration, authorizing emergency funds for the state, and has sent the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, W. Craig Fugate, to personally supervise the disaster response.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R- Ohio) also offered prayers for those affected by the tornado. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to those in Oklahoma who were victimized by this storm, especially our colleague Tom Cole,” said Boehner in a press conference. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) is from Moore, and is currently in his home state.
Boehner also ordered that flags be flown at half- mast “in honor of those who have suffered through terrible storm.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the floor to express her sympathy and condolences to those in Oklahoma, and offered prayers and words of support as well.
“We’ve seen natural disasters come and go,” she said, adding that in the face of disasters, “it’s very hard to see how people can be made whole, but we are always hopeful that they will be.” She noted that people can “have hope in the charity of others, that we can work together to come through this.”
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, promised that all donations collected would go towards relief efforts in Okla.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the damage caused by the tornadoes in Oklahoma,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a May 21 statement.
“We will work with our state and local councils to help the people of Oklahoma recover
from this disaster, and we ask all members of the Knights of Columbus to keep those affected in their prayers.”
Oklahoma bishop supports those grieving in Moore
5/21/2013 4:15:00 PM
Oklahoma City, Okla., May 21, 2013 / 03:15 pm (
).- Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City traveled to Moore today to give his support and concern to those devastated by the tornado that swept through the town yesterday, May 20.
“I feel, as the archbishop, as a shepherd, I need to be there,” Archbishop Coakley told CNA while on his way to the suburb of Oklahoma City on May 21.
“I'm not sure…there's anything very practical I can do when I arrive, other than to show my pastoral concern and support, and give the assurance of my prayers to those who are indeed suffering.”
He added that “people are in such shock right now, we just want to accompany them in their suffering at this point.”
The tornado, which was two miles wide at its greatest, touched down mid-afternoon yesterday, and lashed the area for 45 minutes with winds of up to 200 mph. It destroyed homes, businesses, the local hospital and other buildings, including Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Officials have reported 24 dead, including nine children. Earlier reports of as many as 91 deaths were attributed to the double-reporting of some corpses.
The archbishop said that he and Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City will be assessing the needs of the situation. “We're organizing to provide immediate relief as well as long-term assistance in terms of people beginning to rebuild their lives, their homes.”
“We want to be available to provide ordinary pastoral care under the extraordinary situations.” He reported that the city's parish was undamaged, “so as soon as they have power and water restored in the parish, they can continue providing pastoral care to those who are in the area.”
He called the situation in Moore “hectic” and “chaotic,” and said that “at this point we're still in the process of assessing needs, is probably the most honest thing I could say.”
The archdiocesan Catholic Charities will focus on long-term response to the tornado, offering case management and counseling, he said.
William Banowsky, the agency's development director, told CNA that they are setting up a plan, coordinating with state, federal and local agencies “to work together on a cohesive plan.”
He said Catholic Charities “works with those affected long-term, so we're there for their immediate needs, finding shelter and clothing and things like that, but we work with them for up to three, four years, however long it takes for them to get back on their feet.”
Archbishop Coakley said, “what I'm suggesting to people who are wanting to do something immediately, is to go to the Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City website (
), and they can donate online for the tornado disaster relief, and that will go completely to assist the victims.”
“And pray, please…we urge them to pray, to be mindful of the suffering individuals and families, and community of central Oklahoma.”
Archbishop Coakley said he's been “overwhelmed” by the support and prayers of those from across the country and the world, and that Oklahomans are “mindful and very grateful for that.”
Tina Dzurisin, archdiocesan communications director, said that the prayers and warm wishes the community has received from the world-wide Church have been “really encouraging and uplifting, even in a time of tragedy.”
The archbishop also expressed gratitude to the first responders in Moore, many of whom have been there for 24 hours now, “who are really to be admired and appreciated. They are giving their all, and we want to remember them in our prayers, because they're dealing with some very difficult situations on the ground, there's terrible human suffering they're having to deal with, and they're doing it beautifully.”
Carson Krittenbrink, a seminarian of the Oklahoma City archdiocese who has been to Moore to assist those in need, said there are “police, firemen, and ambulance workers everywhere” in the city, and the National Guard is present.
He told CNA that there are injured people all over Moore. At least 200 were injured in the tornado.
Krittenbrink has family in Moore, and their home has “a big hole in the roof” and “it ripped brick off the side of house, broke every window in the house.”
That damage, however, was a “glancing blow” from the tornado. “The houses just across the street are clean to the foundation, nothing left.”
While going with his parents to help their relatives, Krittenbrink said, “we were running over powerlines, we were having to skirt chunks of roof in the road.”
A long-time resident of Oklahoma, Krittenbrink said this is “the worst tornado damage I've ever seen.”
The storm did damage proper to the strongest category of tornado, EF-5, and may be the areas worst tornado seen in some 30 years.
St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions
5/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
â€œLong live Christ the King and the Virgin of Guadalupe!â€�This was the slogan of the â€œCristeroâ€� uprising in the 1920â€™s against the anti-Catholic government of Mexico which had instituted and enforced laws against the Church in an absurd attempt to eradicate the Catholic faith in Mexico, even going so far as to ban all foreign clergy and the celebration of Mass in some regions.St. Christopher Magallanes, along with 21 other priests and three lay companions, were martyred between 1915 and 1937, by shooting or hanging, throughout eight Mexican states, for their membership in the Cristero movement. Magallanes erected a seminary in Totatiche and he and his companions secretly preached and ministered to the faithful.The last words heard spoken by Magallanes were from his cell, when he shouted, "I am innocent and I die innocent. I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serve the peace of our divided Mexico".Pope John Paul II beatified the Cristero martyrs in 1992 and canonized them in 2000.
First Reading - Sir 2:1-11
5/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
1 Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation. 2 Humble thy heart, and endure: incline thy ear, and receive the words of understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds. 3 Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God, and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end. 4 Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience. 5 For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.6 Believe God, and he will recover thee: and direct thy way, and trust in him. Keep his fear, and grow old therein. 7 Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy: and go not aside from him, lest ye fall. 8 Ye that fear the Lord, believe him: and your reward shall not be made void. 9 Ye that fear the Lord, hope in him: and mercy shall come to you for your delight. 10 Ye that fear the Lord, love him, and your hearts shall be enlightened.11 My children behold the generations of men: and know ye that no one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded.
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