Greetings from Harvey and St. Rosalie Parish!
Today was a great day to celebrate the Gift of the Eucharist with family and friends. We celebrated two Masses, 8am and 11am. They were great expressions of faith for parishioners and my family. My Aunt Dee and her family attended the 11am Mass and shared where their children and grandchildren are located. It is a great relief to know that they are all safe, even if they are in Texas, Florida, and Virginia.
My brother in law, Ray, along with my niece Janet and her son Kenneth made it home from their three day journey from Norfolk, Virginia. They are tired and it shows on their faces. We all cried, knowing that being together is more important than anything else, even the material possessions we have lost. Tomorrow we will go to Mom’s grave and thank her for her protection from heaven.
In the parish, between the two Masses, parishioners set up a food kettle. They prepared and distributed to family, friends, and any one who we could flag down, some 600 servings of gumbo, along with soda and candy. We flagged down Bell South workers as well as insurance agents. One group that stopped by was Allstate Insurance. A district manager was surveying the area, looking for a safe place to put six trailers. It would be a working district office for the next three weeks. Since St. Rosalie is housing West Jefferson Medical Center?s transportation group, I called Fr. Jim McKenna who graciously agreed to allow them to use the parking lot of the school. By the way, all of them took gumbo ?to go? plates with them.
A National Guard group from Nebraska stopped by and offered help with cleaning up our school. I passed the phone call on to our principal, Mary, but before they left they, too, had their first taste of gumbo.
Tomorrow 45 teachers will be here to being to clean up the elementary school and we hope to get to the middle school by the end of the week. There is a grid in the main office, teachers names and places assigned, where to get supplies, and a timeline as well. Efficiency is the key and health of the kids is of major importance.
Many of the grocery stores are without perishable items?milk, bread, cheese, and dare I mention ice cream! Tuesday is the next big shipment day to the local groceries. Here in the parish we are using Rotolo and Martin, a parishioner who has opened the ?back? door of his store to our families. I have provided many gift certificates/food vouchers today and will continue to do so as funds permit.
Finally, this afternoon the Provincial made the round of phone calls to the Salesians here and at Archbishop Shaw. He was, as he has always been, most supportive of each one and each apostolate. He promised the support, spiritually and financially, of the Province, and promises to keep in contact with each ministry. It is comforting to know that while we are back working to rebuild so much, he is doing his best to find the means to help us in many ways.
God Bless you all and know of our gratitude and prayers.
Fr. Jon D. Parks, sdb