BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In a letter to the public, Bishop Michael G. Duca gives an update on storm recovery and says pastors will decide whether Mass will be celebrated on Sunday in their parish.
Read the full letter below:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have had a very hard week here in Southeast Louisiana and it looks to be a long path to put our cities back together. Priests have been reporting in with the news of how you and our parishes weathered the storm. The Northwest side of our diocese is coming back online with less damage while the Southwestern and eastern portion of our territory has experienced serious damage. Our neighboring Diocese of Houma–Thibodaux and the Archdiocese of New Orleans received the worst of Ida’s wrath, but please be aware in the Diocese of Baton Rouge there are cities, churches, and neighborhoods that have experienced flooding and may not have power for weeks, even as some of your homes begin to have electricity restored. Due to these differing situations, pastors will decide if it is possible to celebrate Sunday Mass in your parish or if they will have a limited number of Masses. Please be patient with your pastor as he tries to bring your parish back into working order.
In a disaster situation like this, you are dispensed from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass, especially if your home or city has been severely affected. You should not act in any way that is dangerous or requires an unreasonable burden in order to attend Mass.
In the coming week we will connect parishes that are coming online more quickly to aid those parishes that still need help. As always, I am awed by your generosity and trust that you will continue to provide helping hands and resources to those in need.
St. Paul tells us that when “one part of the body suffers the whole body suffers” (1 Cor. 12:27). Even if we are recovering quickly (if you are reading this on a working phone, with power and an internet connection, then you are recovering quickly!) we should not forget that members of the Body of Christ throughout our diocese are still struggling. Let us continue to follow the Lord’s command to “love one another” and do all we can to help those in need until all in the Body of Christ and the entire People of God in our area are healed so that when “one member of the body is exalted, all the other members share its joy.”
Hope in the Lord.Bishop Michael G. Duca