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September 8, 2005

Efforts Continue in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to Assist Those Devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will celebrate a Mass to remember those who lost their lives and those affected in any way by the hurricane at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Friday, September 9, 2005 at 12:05 p.m. All are welcome to attend and media are invited to cover.

Cardinal Rigali has also asked all 274 parishes in the Archdiocese to hold special collections as soon as possible to assist in the relief effort. All donations will be forwarded to Catholic Charities USA. ( Some parishes took up spontaneous collections this past weekend while other parishes scheduled their collections for upcoming weekends. Pastors report tremendous generosity. (Parishioners in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia donated more than $2.64 million to tsunami relief efforts earlier this year.)

Students in the 194 parish elementary schools, all parish religious education programs and 21 Archdiocesan high schools are asked to participate in the relief collection of the National Catholic Educational Associationís. Information regarding Child to Child: A Catholic Campaign to Aid Education can be found at Students will be asked to contribute one dollar to be designated for the educational needs of the young people in the affected areas.

During a Mass to Celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Saint Peter Claver Center (12th & Lombard Streets in Philadelphia) at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 9th, special prayers and a collection will be taken. Cardinal Rigali is the celebrant and homilist. The Saint Peter Claver Center offers evangelization and service to the Black Catholic Community. Media are welcome to cover.

Choirs from the Black Catholic community will hold a Benefit Concert at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23, 2005 at Saint Raymond Parish (Vernon Road & Williams Avenue, Philadelphia). Any choir wishing to participate should contact the Office for Black Catholics as soon as possible at 215-587-3634.

Priests from the Archdiocese have begun to visit the Wanamaker School site to offer spiritual comfort to those newly arrived in Philadelphia.

Catholic Social Services (CSS) is also working to provide care for those affected by Hurricane Katrina who will make the Philadelphia area their temporary home. CSS, working with the Department of Human Services, is prepared to use its already established network of group homes and foster care services to care for those young people who might arrive in Philadelphia without an adult.

Some of those who lost everything due to Katrina will be coming to the Philadelphia area assisted by relatives or friends rather than relief agencies. Catholic Social Services (CSS) is available to assist families in the resettlement process. CSS will provide emotional services, social services and financial support as available within its means. While families have opened up their homes to loved ones displaced by this disaster, they might lack the resources to provide for their relatives immediate and long-term needs. CSS is here to help.

Many generous people are offering to open their homes to not just to family but to people they have never met. CSS will collaborate with Catholic Charities USA in the Operation Home Away From Home initiative. (Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a member agency of Catholic Charities-USA.) CSS will assist in gathering housing information to contribute to a data base being organized on a national level. If someone in the Philadelphia area wishes to be included in that data base, they may call Catholic Social Services at 215-587-3900. It is important to note that the people displaced from their homes will need housing assistance for a minimum of 90 to 180 days.


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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