The current hurricane season in the US and the monsoon season in SE Asia have brought much destruction due to flooding. Hurricane Harvey has caused thousands of homes to be destroyed and people evacuated to shelters. Devastating floods across SE Asia have displaced 41 million people. When natural disaster happens, the resulting death and destruction becomes a shared experience wherever it strikes.
Outreach efforts by the Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston have included 25 parishes serving as shelters and/or donation centres. Catholic Charities and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be providing direct long-term assistance and case management services to victims as they begin to rebuild.
Meanwhile, Caritas organizations are responding to the needs in India, Nepal and Bangladesh by providing food, clean drinking water, and shelter. Emergency relief is also focused on preventing the spread of waterborne disease by delivering health, hygiene and sanitation support.
Let us pray for the victims of these disasters, standing in solidarity with them as they continue with recovery efforts and start to rebuild from such devastation. Just as the Diocese mobilized together when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, let us once again do so to help the millions impacted by these natural disasters.
Donations made to help with Hurricane Harvey will be sent to the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston. Donations made to assist with the emergency relief in SE Asia will be sent through Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada to help with humanitarian aid for Caritas India, Caritas Bangladesh and Caritas Nepal. Donations can be made online through the Diocese of Calgary website or mailed to the Catholic Pastoral Centre.
Please forward all funds collected to the Pastoral Centre.
- DONATE ONLINE or
- Send a cheque to Catholic Pastoral Centre (120 17th Ave SW, Calgary T2S-2T2) and mark cheques with a note – Hurricane Harvey or South Asia Floods.
☩ William McGrattan
Bishop of Calgary
The CCCB, along with other faith leaders in Canada, has launched a national appeal to help address the famines and extreme food shortages in these four countries.
The threefold response is:
- Pray - for people, for government leaders and humanitarian workers in the region.
- See Prayers of the Faithful
- Give - all parishes has been asked to take up a second collection. See Bishop McGrattan's letter. Give online here.
- Speak Out - speak about the crisis with your friend, family and neighbours; write to your local MP.
- The attached fact sheet provides some details of what our faith leaders have called "one of the world's largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War".
- See also the following links for more information:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary is honoured to partner with Blue Sea Philanthropy, as the host partner for Ride for Refuge. This is a fantastically fun, family-friendly bike-a-thon supporting charities serving the displaced, vulnerable, and exploited.
In 2015, Ride for Refuge in Calgary benefited 22 charities. The Diocese raised funds for its Elizabeth House Program.
Did you contribute to the October Mission Sunday collection? The following is a brief look at one church in need. The Eparchy (Diocese) of Keren, the second city in Eritrea in the north of Africa, has a pressing need of a new seminary.
Due to its geopolitical position on the Red Sea, Eritrea has had many invaders during its history, including Egyptians and Ottoman Turks. In recent history, Eritrea was colonized by Italy, was a British Protectorate after the second World War, followed by unjust annexation by Ethiopia. This resulted in a 30-year brutal and ferocious war, until finally independence was won in 1991. This war was costly for Eritrea: tens of thousands of lives were lost; villages were demolished; infrastructure was devastated; and the little development achieved was driven backwards. The quality of life was non existent, while malnutrition and starvation was widespread. Many survivors left the country in search of a life, and many drowned in the attempt.
The Catholic Eparchy of Keren stretches over a semi desert region of Eritrea. It has a population of about 450,000 of which about 12% are Catholic and 85% are Muslim. Despite its minority status in number, the Church is well respected, running social, pastoral, educational, medical, and humanitarian services.
Some Church History
Fr. Justin de Jocobis, ordained in Brindisi, Italy, was the founder of modern Eritrean Catholicism. He visited the area in 1844 and found it completely abandoned by clergy. In 1831 missionaries walked through Keren during a 50-day excursion and saw churches that were still frequented by people, even without an officiating priest.
In 1867, the main task of the missionaries was the establishment of the seminary. The buildings which were completed in 1873 and continue to operate today. Entire villages were becoming Catholic and the seminary was able to offer education to priests for service to the new parishes.
In 1924, an apostolic visitor was commissioned by Pope Pius XI who reported back to Rome the need for a local hierarchy. Today we have the Catholic Eparchy (diocese) of Keren, established in 1995 with its first Eparch (bishop) His Excellency Abune Tesmairam Bedho. After his passing he was succeeded by His Excellency Abune Kidane Yebio as the second and present Eparch.
The fruits of many years of prayer, sacrifice, hard work, struggle and evangelization, have lead to the well established seminary and church. As of 2015 the Eparchy of Keren has 74 priests; 93 seminarians; 68 catechists; runs 43 parishes; 53 chapels; 18 elementary schools; five middle schools; one high school; one agricultural college; two orphanages; seven women’s promotion centres; two health centres; five health stations; eight kindergartens; and six child care centres. The seminary in Keren has been the cradle for vocations from its inception to the present time. Until recently all diocesan priests and bishops of the Geez rite have had their formation in the seminary of Keren. The seminary continues to operate under very difficult conditions. In spite of a lack of resources, miserable, and bleak conditions—as during the liberation war—it has continued to bear fruit. Vocations are still plentiful and ordination of priests is a regular occurrence even though they take place outdoors in shabby half covered tents because of lack of a cathedral. The cathedral is being built now.
The majority of the people in the Catholic Diocese of Keren live in small villages as subsistence farmers and pastoralists. Living conditions and development are poor, and modern amenities are non existent, even in the larger villages. Hence building a seminary with the peoples’ resources is unthinkable. This is why the Keren Church humbly extends her hand to her brothers and sisters in Christ to help build a much needed new seminary. As we well know, continuity of our faith depends on educating tomorrow’s priests. This is a primary concern for every bishop. Some struggle with lack of vocations; and others, like Keren, have many called to religious vocations, but lack the appropriate resources to educate them.
The estimated cost of the new seminary is $4,000,000 (four million) US dollars. Perhaps the Propagation of the Faith from Mission Sunday collections can help; but this is not an isolated need in today’s world. Perhaps the dioceses in the USA can help, and maybe we can help. Small donations add up. Drops of water can fill a bucket. Bishop Henry has spearheaded some drops in the bucket. God bless you all. If you are touched by this story and are able to help, donations can be made to the seminary via Mission Council, Calgary Diocese, 120 - 17th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2T2.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary is registered as a legal charity under the 1913 legislative act of incorporation and also federally with the Canada Revenue Agency. Charitable BN: 10790-9939-RR0076.