Katrina a Decade Later: Personal Reflections
from Bishop Robert Muench
The Setting. On a Saturday morning after the flood waters in New Orleans had receded, I drove to the residence where my parents had lived prior to Hurricane Katrina (from which they had evacuated with my sister, Mary, and her husband Frank, to Memphis beforehand in the Gentilly neighborhood of the city. I was not prepared for what I saw when I took the Elysian Fields exit from I-610 elevated expressway. I felt as if I had entered The Twilight Zone (science-fiction TV series). There was no sign of either life or activity. No movement anywhere. No people. No electricity. No operating street lights. No sound. No birds. No animals. Deserted homes and cars. Everything looked ash. I drove down Elysian Fields Ave. towards Lake Ponchartrain and got to the corner of Rapides. I slowly took a left turn and proceeded another two blocks before turning right onto Pasteur Blvd. where my parents’ home was located. External water marks revealed it had been engulfed by eight feet of water. I didn’t enter the house, deferring to a later time when two of my sisters and their husbands could join me. When we did, we discoveredeverything inside the first floor of the house was ruined.
The Power of Nature. Nothing previous in my life had prepared me for the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. And while it was the breakdown of the levee system that caused the most significant damage, what decisively came through was the powerful impact of nature and the devastation and disruption it could cause if unabated.
The Power of Love. In preparation for and in the aftermath of the hurricane, our area became a haven for evacuees from the more coastal areas of the state. People here welcomed their new residents, family members, friends and strangers as well. Archbishop Alfred Hughes was warmly received back to our diocese and provided lodging and office space. Pope John Paul II sent Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, then Vatican President of the Pontifical Council, “Cor Unum,” as an emissary who represented and expressed the personal concern, prayers and blessings of the Holy Father to our people, those in the Biloxi, MS, area, and to the Gulf Coast residents so deeply affected in the storm’s wake. St. Joseph Cathedral hosted a special Mass for the evacuees. Archbishop Hughes conducted a weekday morning television broadcast on Catholic Life TV (which he had previously established in Baton Rouge), communicating news and plans. click here to read more
A Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
By St. Alphonsus Liguori
Pentecost Sunday - May 24
This prayer was written by St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), a bishop and doctor of the Church and founder of the Redemptorist order. In it, we ask the Holy Spirit to grant us His seven gifts.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favors, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next. Amen.
Prayer for Safety in Hurricane Season
O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of your children.The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude. You are still the Master of land and sea. We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control:the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming
lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries,invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.
During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf, so that spared from the calamities
common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude,we will walk in the footsteps
of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen.
Most Rev. Maurice Schexnayder (1895-1981), Second Bishop of Lafayette
2015 Chrism Mass
Wednesday of Holy Week, April 1, 10:30 a.m.
St. Joseph Cathedral
2015 Chrism Mass & Luncheon Information
for Priests, Deacons & Seminarians
Please distribute information in document below to each priest and deacon assigned to the parish
2015 Chrism Oil Memo & Oil Request
All Pastors; Hospital Chaplains; Religious Community Representatives of the Diocese of Baton Rouge