NOLA: Mass in honor of St. Pio

The Lord is kind and merciful. That is the refrain of our congregation today as we gathered to celebrate the Mass of St. Pio. The prophetic readings announce to us God’s call to follow His will and to announce to others that HE is the Christ, our Savior, who walks with us in faith.

We began the day with the hope that Rita will move away from us and fade away. Because the Navy SeaBees as well as the Army would not be here any longer, a decision was made to give the teachers the day off—then as we watched the news we saw more and more of the affects of Rita upon our already damaged city. Our maintenance men came in to finish making sure all things were secure around the property and tie down some of the school items that would be projectiles from the storm. The insurance adjuster was suppose to come here to visit the school and begin the official process of preparing pages and pages of insurance forms. We waited from 7:30am until 8:45am then the cell phone rang—surprisingly. It was the insurance adjuster who called to say he was stopped from entering the parish (county) and would have to postpone his visit until next week. Another major setback for the parish and the school! So we went to plan ‘b’ which was to just continue to clean up and tie things down.
The rain began to fall in buckets, squalls they call them. The wind certainly was here in force and it rattled everything from the rope on the flag pole to the siding on the house to the neighbor’s garbage can which flew down the street in from of the rectory.
The wind and the rain combined the darkness of the sky combined for another dreary part of living with a hurricane at your doorstep. Trying to keep busy and not glued to the news is difficult, the ordinary activities of the day give way to the immediacy of trying to keep things together.
Fr. Jim Curran flew into Baton Rouge last night and of course could not get back to the parish. After making call after call after call, I found our parish president who picked him up at the airport and brought him to a local parish until it would be safe to return to the parish.
Today is my sister’s birthday…we are celebrating by phone calls, everyone hunkered down in their own place for the majority of the day. As Rita moved northwest, we chanced it and all gathered at the rectory for dinner, finishing off the boiled shrimp from yesterday and sharing a cake that Mary White stood in line for an hour to purchase as part of her own shopping adventure this morning.
As the news stations focus on Rita’s landfall, my concern is for those people who will have their lives changed in an instant. My other concern is that the memories of Katrina will be just that, memories, and people will move their funds and resources to the latest tragedy of nature and we will be an afterthought.
Let us pray for one another, and as I have done so many times before, I ask you to continue to pray for us and for our kids and help wherever you can. Salesians and friends are beginning to get through–Fr. Provincial, Fr. Lou Molinelli, Fr. Don Delaney, etc… your support and prayers keep me going and I am grateful…
Blessings and prayers,
Fr. Jon D. Parks, sdb
Pastor of St. Rosalie

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