- Aug 3, 2020
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, motivated by his Catholic faith, dispatched trucks to rescue Harvey flooding victims and opened his stores as shelters to hundreds of evacuees and Texas Army National Guard troops. He said Houstonians are acting the way Pope John Paul II had inspired people to act. “They’re loving each other. That’s the way it ought to be all the time.”
More than 1,300 people were helped with basic necessities, referrals, emergency funds and gift cards to help them deal with the challenges caused by Hurricane Harvey. The biggest challenges Catholic Charties face include trying to find places to store donated supplies and relocating residents with no affordable housing available.
While bayous and rivers were rising and falling in Houston, Hurricane Harvey’s outer bands reached into East Texas, smothering Beaumont and Port Arthur with rain. Shortly offshore and downgraded to a tropical storm, Harvey made a second landfall Aug. 30 with more rain, drenching the already soaked region.
In a message released by the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis said he was “deeply moved by the tragic loss of life and the immense material devastation that this natural catastrophe has left in its wake,” and that “he prays for the victims and their families, and for all those engaged in the vital work of relief, recovery and rebuilding.”
After he ended up stranded and sleeping in his pickup Saturday night while trying to reach his Houston home, Father David Bergeron got up Sunday morning eager to say Mass. There was no congregation on his overpass, so the enterprising young priest broke out his kayak. He went up and down streets to check on people – trying, he said, to reassure them ‘God is still with us.’
As the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles has requested that all U.S. bishops take up a special collection in support of its victims. The collection will be taken up at masses over the next two weekends.