Bishop Galante’s message in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

My dear Sisters and Brothers,

As we, the Church of South Jersey, mourn our losses from Hurricane Sandy, I urge you to keep in mind the consolation God’s Word offers.

The Psalmist in last weekend’s readings proclaimed: “I love you, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.”

He continued: “My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!”

In the Gospels, we heard Jesus proclaim the Great Commandments: to love God, and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Besides these readings, during this time of crisis I am reminded of Matthew 25, when those seeking salvation on the Day of Judgment ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?”

The reply: “Whatever you did for the least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

In the aftermath of the storm, these readings offer us calming consolation and incredible challenges. We seek the Lord as our refuge. Many of us cry out to be shielded from the elements of wind, rain, and cold. At the same time, we are challenged to reach out to our neighbor in need.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Camden has mobilized its resources to provide assistance, particularly to our Shore communities. This weekend we will be taking up a special second collection to benefit storm relief. Cash assistance, along with our prayers, is most needed and can be forwarded to:

Hurricane Relief

c/o Catholic Charities

Diocese of Camden

1845 Haddon Ave.

Camden, NJ 08103

I ask you to keep in your prayers those who have died in this tragic hurricane and their families. Pray for all those who have lost homes. It is not unusual for people to say in times like these, “Why me? Why us?”

It is my conviction that God brings forth good out of sadness and tragedy. We already see some of that good in the generosity of our police, firefighters, EMT workers, and all those who volunteer to help those who are still suffering from Sandy.

The love that Jesus speaks about for our neighbors will require marshaling our efforts in a concerted way. As always, we will be relying on your abundant generosity and fervent prayers.

May God bless you for all you continue to do in service of God’s people in distress.

Bishop Joseph Galante

Diocese of Camden

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