Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi,
One Year After Hurricane Katrina

It's true that New Orleans suffered the most from Hurricane Katrina. It's also true that Biloxi, Miss. suffered the same fate as New Orleans. But, it rarely gets any media attention. The Catholic Explorer has this update on the status of Biloxi and its Catholic diocese:

Bishop Rodi offered an update on the progress of recovery in the 9,653 square miles of his diocese. He said, "Things are certainly not back to normal. A tremendous amount of work has been done to remove debris, gut flooded buildings and repair the buildings that survived. The rebuilding of what was destroyed has only begun."

The damage to homes and personal property is overwhelming and it has taken a priority in the rebuilding efforts. But the mission diocese, comprised of 70,000 Catholics before the hurricane, is still struggling to deal with the hard decisions that have to be made about the 428 of 433 church-owned properties that were destroyed or seriously damaged and is burdened by the fact that insurance only covered half of the $70 million worth of damage to buildings.

Then comes the best part:

Despite the overpowering odds, Bishop Rodi seemed positive about the future of his diocese. He stated, "Although there continues to be frustration with the pace of recovery, there continues to be a positive and optimistic spirit among the people here in Mississippi. There is a strong 'can-do' spirit. We know that the next few years may be very tough, but we are convinced that good times lie ahead."

I pray that Biloxi and New Orleans don't get hit by another monstrous hurricane. Those two places need time to recover from Hurricane Katrina's destruction. They can't take another hit again this year.

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