“This church will likely be considered a total loss,” Casey said. Among other Catholic churches in the diocese, St. Joseph in Mayfield also suffered significant damage.
A series of storms and tornadoes passed through nine states, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee, late Friday and early Saturday morning. Western Kentucky was hardest hit, with 74 deaths confirmed there as of Monday. Northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, and northwest Tennessee also suffered heavy damage. Across all affected states, the confirmed death total was 87, making the storms one of the deadliest in U.S. history, according to the Washington Post.
Bishop William Medley of Owensboro heads the Catholic diocese in western Kentucky.
“Though no one but the Lord can heal the broken hearts of those who have lost loved ones, I am humbled by the outpouring of support coming to us from around the country and the world,” Medley said in a statement to CNA. “Several bishops have communicated to me that they are asking their parishes to take up a collection for the tornado victims. We received a written message from Pope Francis and he even prayed for Kentucky by name in his Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. We know that when we are one in Christ, we are never alone.”
Casey told CNA that donations to local relief efforts are being funneled through the diocese’s Catholic Charities office.
“Right now, donations are being accepted online at https://owensborodiocese.org/give with the designation to Tornado Relief – Catholic Charities,” she said.