|Youth for the Third Millennium missionaries, mostly students from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, help parishes in Slidell, LA, overcome hurdles left by Hurricane Katrina.|
Slidell, LA was one of the cities that received a
direct hit from Katrina. Two Catholic churches and one school
were devastated by the storm. St Margaret Mary’s Church was
one of the “more fortunate,” as the rising flood waters
did not reach it. However, the roofs of the church
and some school buildings were torn off in the storm
and there was extensive water damage in many classrooms. Msgr.
Lanaux Rarechild, the pastor, showed great strength in confronting the
difficult situation. Despite many hurdles he was determined to open
the parish school on Monday September 19. So when Youth
for the Third Millennium arrived on his doorstep a few
days ahead of the re-opening, he was only too happy
to receive a helping hand from “his guardian angels,” as
he called the missionaries.
That Saturday, over 20 young men led
by YTM director Tony MacDonnell helped make Father Rarechild’s hopes
a reality. The missionaries hailed from Louisiana State University (LSU),
University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) and local Regnum Christi teams,
joining the ranks of other parish volunteers. They cleaned out
and organized classrooms and removed debris from the grounds in
preparation for the school’s reopening. In the course of the
day’s work they were surprised by a visit from Archbishop
Alfred Hughes of New Orleans who was surveying the parishes
of the archdiocese. He was happy to see the missionaries
at work and stopped to greet them personally. An article
on the mission is appearing in the National Catholic Register.
the help of the youth missionaries, the school was able
to reopen as planned on Monday September 19. To accommodate
more pupils they have begun “platooning” with students from a
neighboring parish, St Margaret Mary; one group studies from 7
a.m. to noon while others attend a second shift of
classes from 1-6 p.m.
|Youth for the Third Millennium Director Tony MacDonnell meets with Archbishop Alfred Hughes in Slidell, LA, where YTM missionaries have been helping parishes recover from Hurricane Katrina.|
Still, the work at this parish is
not over: eleven classrooms still remain unusable, and the roof
of the church needs replacement. YTM will be close to
Msgr. Rarechild to see what additional support the missionaries can
offer him and his parishioners in the upcoming weeks.
parish is one of the more fortunate in Slidell. At
St Genevieve Church 4-8 feet of water filled the church
buildings, destroying the altar, pews, and other furniture, and leaving
a few inches of mud behind in all the buildings.
YTM is planning a future mission at the parish. God
willing, many young people from around the country will be
able to participate in these missions. To sign up for
a mission log on to ytm.org. Financial support for affected
parishes and the missionary effort can be made at catholicworldmission.org.
work seems endless, but the faith, generosity and resilience of
this people is strong. The hurricane victims and YTM
appreciate the prayers of all the Regnum Christi members and
the support they are providing. Material support can be provided
through Catholic World Mission.