Pope calls for increased assistance to those hit by Hurricane Fiona

Sep 22, 2022
A man stands inside his destroyed house in El Seibo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 20, 2022, in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. (CNS photo/Ricardo Rojas, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As Hurricane Fiona swept across the Caribbean, leaving behind numerous victims and material destruction, Pope Francis called for greater solidarity in assisting all those affected.

In separate telegrams sent to the presidents of the bishops' conferences of Puerto Rico and of the Dominican Republic Sept. 21, the pope assured them of his prayers, asking that God would offer his consolation to those suffering as a result of the natural disaster.

The telegrams, written on behalf of the pope and signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, were sent to Bishop Rubén Antonio González Medina of Ponce, Puerto Rico, and Archbishop Freddy Antonio de Jesús Bretón Martínez of Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, the presidents of the conferences.

The pope was "deeply distressed to learn of the natural disasters that have struck" both countries due to Hurricane Fiona, the telegrams said.

The hurricane touched down in Puerto Rico Sept. 18, causing massive flooding, wind damage, power outages and the shutdown of water service across a large part of the island, affecting millions of residents and leaving at least two people dead, officials said.

The hurricane caused worse damage in the Dominican Republic as it picked up strength moving north, triggering mudslides and destroying hundreds of homes. At least two people were killed -- one by a utility pole, another by a tree, which were toppled by gusting winds.

In the papal telegram, the pope asked that all Christians and people of goodwill increase their efforts of "solidarity to help those affected by this calamity and therefore show that fraternal closeness to which we are all called."

The hurricane hit Turks and Caicos Sept. 20, and gusts were recorded as high as 155 miles an hour Sept. 21 as it headed toward Bermuda.

By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service



Mike Reininger
Thu, 09/22/2022 - 11:09 AM
Mike Reininger
Natural disasters are a scary thing. The Puerto Ricans are lucky in that they are part of the U.S. As far as those in the Dominican Republic, gosh, I don't know how they are going to get on with their lives. My nephew's wife is from the Dominican Republic. How her extended family is going to cope, I don't know. I'm sure the one's here in the U.S. will be sending remittances back home, that's for sure. At least my nephew's wife is safe. My nephew and his wife acknowledge that they are poor, but they seem to be happy, nonetheless. Being rich or poor is all relative as long as one doesn't have children who have real and different needs. There are pros and cons to having children. My attitude is, "Less is more," the less to be responsible for. I hope one doesn't have to have a wife and kids to be happy, otherwise I'm in big trouble, ha, ha. The homeless in my town seem to be happy with nothing, so why should I complain about not having more than what I have? One homeless guy even told me that where we live the winters won't kill you, since the winters here are mild. So, why does he continue to stay homeless? Because he's an alcoholic. It's a lifestyle. I know of one homeless guy who doesn't have a drug problem, but I suspect his problem is PTSD. I respect him and leave him alone since that's what he wants, to be left alone. As long as he has the Food Bank, he seems to be satisfied. He doesn't beg for anything. I know of another homeless guy who is a schizophrenic. He's not afraid to beg. Whether he has shame about begging or not, I don't know. I guess he just doesn't care. His life is in God's hands. He seems to like me for whatever reason. I don't mind chatting with him since he doesn't hear voices. I don't think he's dangerous. As far as his delusions, I don't want to entertain those and so I change the subject or leave. The schizophrenics that hear voices are the ones I stay away from. I don't want a knife in the back. I think those are the ones that definitely need hospitalization. It's sad, but true. So, how do people end up mentally sick? Who knows. I mainly try and deal only with normal people. I'm not a doctor, nor am I a social worker. I still believe charity begins at home.

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