My dear friends in Christ,
I come to you today with great gratitude and hope in my heart as I share with you good news about the generosity and sincerity of the people of our Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.
This past August, tens of thousands of people in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and other areas of our state experienced great loss and hardship because of tragic flooding.
In response to this tragedy, the people of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux took to heart the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 where Jesus says: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me…for whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Having been victims so many times ourselves, we know well the feelings of loss and loneliness following a disaster. Through the countless works of charity by Catholic individuals and organizations, the people of this diocese have demonstrated care and solidarity with the many hurting flood victims.
Relief supplies, including clothing, baby items, toiletries, blankets and bedding, cleaning supplies, water, food, school supplies, and rosaries were collected in our Catholic churches, Catholic schools, Pastoral Center, Catholic Charities, and Good Samaritan Food Banks. These items were sent to communities in and around the Lafayette and Baton Rouge area in cars, pickup trucks, and donated 18-wheelers.
Knights of Columbus Councils, parish prayer groups, social service programs, St. Vincent de Paul societies, Catholic schools, and groups of Catholics banded together to cook and deliver thousands of hot meals in the Catholic churches of flooded towns.
Catholic volunteers joined with other non-profits to help gut houses. Others pulled together friends and classmates and drove into neighborhoods to find families in need and worked with them. Catholic high schools organized clean up days with students. And our diocesan seminarians held days of service to do the same.
There are countless charitable deeds that were done to aid our neighbors who were in need, far too many to list. We also cannot forget the countless prayers offered by the faithful of our diocese. Thank you for your commitment to interceding for those whose crosses are often heavier than our own.
Even in the midst of our own economic hardship, the good people of this diocese have generously offered financial resources to their hurting brothers and sisters. Between Church parish collections, Catholic Charities, Catholic schools, and other individual donors, the people of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux donated over $290,000. These funds were distributed to relief efforts for the people of the Dioceses of Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Lake Charles.
I am very, very proud of our diocese. My heart is full of gratitude for the many ways you selflessly reached out to those in need. The witness of your generousity and charity inspires me and gives me great hope for the Catholic Church here on the bayous.
The countless acts of love and hope that you have provided to our neighbors will not soon be forgotten.
Further information on the actions we undertook will be available in the November 2016 Issue of the Bayou Catholic Magazine.
With my gratitude for your generosity, and with my gratitude for inspiring hope in the lives of all of those who suffered, I call down God’s blessing upon you and thank you for your faith and your service.
I am sincerly, your bishop who serves you,+ Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre