Kentucky bishop asks for prayers, financial support following fatal tornadoes

Kentucky tornado Emergency workers search through what is left of the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory after it was destroyed by a tornado in Mayfield, Kentucky, on December 11, 2021. | JOHN AMIS/AFP via Getty Images

A bishop in Kentucky is asking for prayers following a series of fatal storms and tornadoes Dec. 11 that killed at least 70 people in the state.

“Let us...unite in prayer as a Catholic community for all of the suffering that was caused by this disaster,” said Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro, in a Dec. 11 statement.

The town of Mayfield, located within the Diocese of Owensboro, was one of the hardest-hit communities. More than 100 people reportedly sought shelter in a local candle-making factory, and officials believe at least a dozen of them died.

Parishes in the Diocese of Owensboro will take up a special collection at Masses this weekend to support those affected or displaced by the storms.

“Many of those injured in the Mayfield candle factory were parishioners, and others represented migrants and the marginalized in our communities,” Medley said.

“I am proud of the many ways that your generosity always allows the Catholic Church to respond to the suffering and to families in crisis. So I thank you in advance for your generous response to this terrible devastation. God will bless our generosity.”

A series of storms and tornadoes passed through Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee in the early morning on Dec. 11. The highest official death toll was in Kentucky, where at least 70 people died. Though Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has said the death toll is likely much higher.

The storms also damaged an Amazon warehouse in southern Illinois, though it is unclear how many people died.

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