Young Katrina survivors find comfort in Catholic schools

Young Catholics displaced from their homes in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina have found a sense of comfort and normalcy at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh.

Two weeks ago, Raleigh’s only Catholic high school welcomed six students from Louisiana with book bags full of school supplies, gift certificates and sweatshirts with the school logo, reported X. In all, about a dozen Louisiana children have enrolled in Catholic schools.

Parishes have also been active collecting funds. At Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Raleigh, parishioners raised $31,000 in one weekend, twice the amount they raised for the tsunami in December. St. Michael the Archangel in Cary raised $85,000. The funds raised will go to Catholic Charities USA.

But Catholics in Raleigh aren’t only helping other Catholics. Following the call of the Gospel to help all of the poor and destitute, they are working with other groups to care for all Katrina victims, regardless of their faith.

People before churches

Louisiana has the highest percentage of Catholics of any state in the South—about 53 percent. As a result, the Catholic community, with all of its churches and schools, is facing .a huge reconstruction project.

About one-third of the Archdiocese of New Orleans' 142 churches suffered severe water damage. The archdiocese is planning a parish-partnering program. Churches across the country are invited to adopt churches devastated by the hurricane and help them to rebuild. 

More important, however, is the effort to reunite families and give children a sense of normalcy, said Archbishop Alfred Hughes of the New Orleans.

"We're putting people before the reconstruction of buildings," he said in an interview with X last week. "We're attempting to help people move through the pilgrimage from being victims to being victors for the Lord,” he said from Baton Rouge, where the archdiocesan offices are temporarily located.

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