Bishop Cistone shared yesterday the following letter with the Pastors and Pastoral Administrators of the Diocese of Saginaw, calling their attention to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' call for a special collection for the victims of recent widespread tornado damage across the southeast:
Dear Pastors and Pastoral Administrators,
We have all seen the tragic news of the widespread tornado damage in the southeastern United States. Archbishop Rodi, the Archbishop of Mobile and Metropolitan of two of the hardest hit dioceses, Birmingham and Jackson, noted: “Recent tornados have inflicted devastation upon communities in several Southern states from Arkansas to Virginia, with Alabama, particularly the Diocese of Birmingham, suffering the worst damage and loss of life. As I write, the official death toll is now 298, with many more injured. The property loss has not yet been calculated, but it appears that the amount of damage is considerable…It should be noted that the damage from these tornados occurred mostly in mission dioceses that do not enjoy the blessing of substantial financial resources,” and funds collected “will be used to help individuals in need as well as in rebuilding and repairing damaged church-owned buildings.”
In the coming days, a Task Force will analyze the humanitarian and institutional needs of each affected diocese and work with Catholic Charities USA to allocate the funds received. Relying on the compassion and generosity of our people, the US Bishops Conference is encouraging a special collection for relief assistance. While recognizing other special collections which may be scheduled, I invite all our parishes to do what you can, when you can. All donations should be remitted to the Diocesan Christian Service Office. The CSO will forward these contributions to the Office for National Collections for “Tornado Recovery.” Please contact Terri Grierson, the Director of the Christian Service Office, if you have any questions (989-797-6650).
I ask that you pray for those who have lost their lives, those who are suffering physical harm and all the people who struggle to rebuild their lives.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, D.D.
Bishop of Saginaw