First reports from flooded parishes in Cumbria

Our Lady of the Lakes and St Charles in Autumn

Our Lady of the Lakes and St Charles in Autumn

Prayers have been said in churches across the country for victims of the floods in Cumbria, and especially for PC Bill Barker, who died on duty when the bridge at Workington collapsed.

The Catholic church of Our Lady of the Lakes and St Charles in Derwent was partly flooded but is sound. The parish house and centre were inches away from a raging torrent at the height of the storm.

Parish Priest, Fr Peter Sharrock, wrote in the parish on-line newsletter today: "Thanks for the many messages of prayer, support and help received after the recent floods. Power was restored only last evening (Sunday) Church building-wise the church has a little water but that should be fine except the cellar completely flooded and we will be without heating for a while.  The house avoided flooding by half and inch although there is water under the flooring.  The centre miraculously, avoided floods despite being in the centre of a raging torrent for most of Thursday and Friday night!

"Many local people around the church have been flooded and two bridges into town are closed, making it difficult for us to get to the 'mainland' - only by driving on the bypass or walking over the park pedestrian  bridge....... more later... soup kitchen!"

The parish had no news of St Joseph's in Cockermouth, which was most seriously affected by the floods. The message continues: "Communications to Cockermouth are poor at the moment. We hope to relay news from the parish  (St Joseph's) and Fr McElroy as soon as possible."

In a message to the diocese, The Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Michael G Campbell OSA, writes: " we experience serious flooding in several locations in Cumbria – part of our Diocese of Lancaster, be assured of my prayers for each and every one of you who have been affected. Through communication with the Catholic parishes in the areas of concern, I am working to stay informed of the needs of individuals and communities throughout the Diocese.

"During this time we must first turn in prayer to God that He will protect our families, our homes, and our communities.  I ask especially those in the Diocese who live outside of the affected areas to increase your prayer, praying that those in the centre of the flood fight will be protected and may experience the peace only God’s love can give.

"For all who are suffering due to the floods, I pray for God’s protection and blessing over you and for the calming strength of His grace. As in any adversity, with faith, hope and charity, God will grant us the particular graces we need in this trial and we will grow in our love for God and each other.  May you receive the support and help you need at this time. May Mary, our Mother of Consolation pray for us. With a prayer and a blessing to you all."

Additional report:

In an e-mail to ICN just now,  Neil Forker, chair of St Joseph's parish council, writes: "E-mail seems most consistent form of communications from this part of West Cumbria. Miraculously there have been no casualties in Cockermouth despite the complex nature of some of the rescues. Our parish  priest and his housekeeper are both safe having opted to remain in situ during the floods.The church and presbytery suffered some flood damage but our church hall escaped.

"This will be the venue for Mass in the coming weeks and months.We have been heartened by messages of goodwill and prayers from all over the country At the moment Cockermouth is a little down but  certainly not out.God willing Cockermouth will emerge from this stronger  than ever.Thank you for your interest in our plight."

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