They carry on despite the circumstances.
This issue of the St. Louis Review includes an article about an arson at St. Monica Church in Creve Coeur two days after Christmas that requires cleanup and repairs lasting several weeks.
Yet, they carry on, with Masses and other sacramental matters continuing as scheduled, but in the parish school.
The fire meant extra work was piled on pastor Father Joe Weber and the parish staff, who ably tended to it and regular duties, with help from parishioners and the community. Most heartening were offers of help from Rabbinical Association president Rabbi James M. Bennett and Rev. Roderick K. Burton, pastor at New Northside Missouri Baptist Church, which was among the churches damaged in a wave of arsons in the fall of 2015.
The Review earlier reported on St. John the Baptist "Gildehaus" Parish in Villa Ridge, which was faced with the sudden death of its beloved parish pastor. A grieving process set in, yet they carried on, with Masses and other sacramental matters provided by priests from other parishes in the Washington Deanery.
Throughout 2016, dioceses across the country participated in three emergency appeals, donating more than $7 million in response to natural disasters.
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on National Collections, called the appeals "a beautiful act of solidarity and mercy."
In January 2016, the 2015-2016 Calamities Collection was created in response to storms that hit the south and Midwest regions of our country during Advent 2015 and in anticipation of additional natural disasters in 2016. To date, this collection has raised $3.2 million from dioceses across the United States.
In August, the 2016 Louisiana Floods Collection was created in response to the extraordinary flooding occurring in southern Louisiana. To date, this collection has raised $3.8 million from U.S. dioceses.
In October, the Hurricane Matthew Collection was created in response to the disastrous Category 4 hurricane that struck large portions of the Southeastern coast of the United States and countries in the Caribbean, especially Haiti. To date, approximately $326,000 has been raised from U.S. dioceses with more funds anticipated.
In these cases, most of the funds are distributed to Catholic Charities USA to cover emergency assistance such as food, water, shelter, medical care and long-term recovery efforts. The rest supports affected dioceses with rebuilding and reconstruction so parishes can carry on.
We are reminded in each instance that the laity have a "co-responsibility" for the Church, as Pope Emeritus Benedict described the role as they unite their energies to the work of their pastors. The Church, thus, more effectively fulfills its mission.
The efforts of parishioners at St. Monica and St. John the Baptist provide an example. So too do members of Queen of All Saints Parish in Oakville who have faithfully traveled many times to Joplin, Mo., to assist with housing needs after 9,000 homes and 1,000 businesses were damaged in a tornado five years ago. They previously made 11 trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.
So, let's "carry on" — and help our pastors and Church institutions do the important work of ministry. It's up to us to pick up the pieces when needed. RELATED ARTICLE(S):Arson draws parish family, community together