Many of you have heard about the recent devastating flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have a personal connection with the pastor of St. Jean Vianney parish in Baton Rouge. Father Tom Ranzino and I both attended St. Meinrad Seminary (he was a few years ahead of me), and we have been working together in recent years, serving on the Board for the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. So this puts a very human face on the reality of this horrific flood.
In light of this, Sacred Heart Parish will be sending $5,000 from our Parish Giving Fund (made possible through our Stewardship of Treasure) to St. Jean Vianney parish to assist Father Tom and his parishioners in their relief efforts. We will take up a second collection for St. Jean Vianney parish this weekend, August 27th & 28th, and I ask you to consider how you can contribute. If you want to send in a donation later for St. Jean Vianney, you may send it to the Parish Office by September 6th and we will add it to the other donations.
Let us continue to work together to build up the Kingdom of God,
Father Steve Sallis
Here is more information about the situation at St. Jean Vianney Parish:
Father Tom sent me an email on August 21:
“Thank you for reaching out to me and my community here at St Jean Vianney. We are on the Eastern edge of the city of Baton Rouge, and were in the middle of the flooded area which extended to our east, through us, and then south to the area south east of Baton Rouge. The description being given of the rain event was it was a young hurricane in its formation and it spent three days directly over BR raining constantly. The local paper said that the amount of water on Baton Rouge was equal to the water needs for the City of New Orleans for the next 300 years. In brief this is our reality.
Water did NOT get in to the Church, the parish office [Thank the Lord!] elementary School office, and 95% of the Elementary School building. Water did enter the two K classrooms and Library in the Elementary School; the Parish Hall, the new Parish Gymnasium and the newly renovated Preschool. Water also entered the bottom floor of the parish rectory.
I am currently living at St Patrick Church in Baton Rouge. It’s only about an 8 minute car ride from St Pats to SJV so I am very blessed. Fr. Jerry Burns has been a great help and support, and helped gut out the Rectory along with others for 3 days.”
Father Tom posted the following on his parish website on August 23:
“I am finding that what I see creates memories for me as it does for everyone. One memory I won’t soon forget is driving today into a subdivision and driving through mountains of debris piled in front of lovely homes. If I didn’t look close I could imagine these homes being lovely inside. Now the insides sit on the street, the result of lots of hands and strong bodies pulling tearing, hauling.”
Father Tom said several members of the staff and many parishioners have lost their homes. See his parish website for more information: www.stjeanvianney.org. Please pray for the Baton Rouge flood victims.