Click here to download a copy of Archbishop Aymond's letter.
New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond is calling on local Catholics to respond to the crisis facing fishermen and their families as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico through a second collection to be held over the next three weeks throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. In a letter dated, May 12, the archbishop made two requests of the Catholic community: to pray with him that through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor God will give safety for the people and the wildlife of the Gulf Coast and to offer a gift to Catholic Charities that can be given to those most in need.
Archbishop Aymond was among the first group of responders to visit St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish officials as the threat of the oil spill became apparent, making his visit to pray and bless emergency workers on May 1. Since then, the Catholic Church through Catholic Charities and Second Harvest Food Bank has been on the ground setting up distribution sites and providing case management and crisis counseling services. More than 500 families have benefited directly from Catholic Charities emergency aid, but as the days go on, more families are in need of services and the list of needs is growing.
“Thus far we have been able to give direct assistance by providing food, baby supplies, counseling and case management for those who are not able to work and whose future is threatened,” wrote the archbishop. “These hardworking people struggling now to save their way of life as generational fishermen need our prayers and support.”
The archbishop also acknowledged the work of the Catholic priests in the area who have worked to provide both pastoral and spiritual care for their people as well as connect them with Catholic Charities and others providing assistance for the affected communities.
The second collection will be over the course of the next three weekends, and held at the pastors’ discretion in each parish. Funds from the collection will go to providing direct assistance to those affected by the oil spill. To give directly to the relief efforts, donations may be made online to Catholic Charities at www.ccano.org.