The Canadian bishops expressed their deepest sympathy to the American bishops over the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, offering prayers and solidarity.
“It is with heavy heart that your brother bishops in Canada see the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the states along the Gulf Coast,” Archbishop Brendan O’Brien of St. John’s wrote last week in a letter to Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Writing on behalf of the Canadian bishops, Archbishop O’Brien invited Canadians to assist in the recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast by making donations to Catholic Charities USA or Catholic Relief Services.
The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed particular affection for the ecclesiastical provinces of New Orleans and Mobile, which in 1674 were part of the original territory of the Diocese of Quebec.
In addition, the bishop pointed out, many of Acadian people in the Atlantic province of New Brunswick found refuge in that area when they were expelled from their homeland in the mid-18th century. Furthermore, many of the French explorers and missionaries who crossed through Canada also worked in that area of the U.S.
“For many Canadians, especially Catholics and including your brother bishops here in Canada, that part of your vast land evokes profound emotions,” Archbishop O’Brien wrote.
Canadians can also write a cheque, earmarked for the Hurricane Katrina aid effort, to the Canadian bishops’ emergency aid and development organization, Development and Peace (D&P). D&P will then forward the donations to Catholic Charities USA via the Caritas Internationalis network. The Canadian organization would issue tax receipts to individual donors.