US bishops launch hurricane relief appeal

 Bishop William S Skylstad, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has announced that a National Collection for Hurricane Relief will be taken up in the 195 Catholic dioceses throughout the United States. Bishop Skylstad said the USCCB has not been able to reach most of the bishops in the affected area because the power and communications are out, but that a request for a national collection had been received. "The devastation and destruction by Hurricane Katrina is being felt in many dioceses of the United States, but most especially in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama," the bishop said in a message sent out yesterday to all Catholic bishops. "As the storm proceeds north through Tennessee and Kentucky even more people will be affected," he continued. "Millions of people are in need of assistance and Catholic Charities will be among the primary responders. Catholic Charities USA, working with the local diocesan Catholic Charities, has a professional and well developed system of reviewing the needs and providing help where it can accomplish the most good." "The media coverage has made it abundantly clear that the needs will be great, and long lasting," Bishop Skylstad said. "At this time there is the possibility of more hurricanes coming in the next several weeks. I therefore ask you to please consider taking up a collection in your diocese for the relief of the victims of the hurricanes of this season." "In your name I offer our fraternal support to our brother bishops at this tragic time," Bishop Skylstad wrote. "I urge you to invite your priests and people to remember in prayer our neighbours who have lost and suffered so much."

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