BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – During a time of preparation, St. Joseph Cathedral and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge started off hurricane season with faith, prayers, and a blessing to bring comfort and strength for the Baton Rouge community.

“May this truck be a sign of hope in those who see it, providing food and help in times of need,” said Bishop Michael Duca as he blessed the 26-foot box truck that the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge uses to deliver resources to people in distress.

Duca said the annual mass is a time that allows the cathedral to seek help through a hurricane prayer and mass.

“And so in this time, we ask you, first of all, to avert the storms from us, not to anyone else, just avert them. We also ask God to help us if they do hit us with the continued faith that he is with us, even in the difficult storm, and that he motivate us not only to protect ourselves with common sense, but also immediately reach out to help others,” he said.

The annual mass also brings a spotlight and blessing to the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge who are hands-on when needed.  

“We help with recovery and response and getting emergency supplies to communities. But then also, we’re there for the long haul, the disaster recovery,” said Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge David Aguilar.

“It takes a community to respond, and it takes a shared value and a shared commitment to the dignity of each and every individual that we can come together in faith to serve people in need, regardless of our faith. And so that’s the purpose of this event as well,” Aguilar said.