Our Priests Talk about Hurricanes Irma and Harvey that Struck the United States

Source: FSSPX News

Corpus Christi, Texas.

FSSPX.News shares the stories of the SSPX priests stationed in zones that were hit by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite heavy losses, the communities were able to remain united in prayer and mutual help

Devastation in Texas 

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas at the end of the month of August 2017, sweeping through with winds of over 130 mph. It was the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, but the prolonged diluvian rains that accompanied Hurricane Harvey caused greater damage than Katrina.

The Society of St. Pius X community of the Queen of Angels Priory in Dickinson, near Houston, Texas, had the sorrow of losing one of the oldest members of the parish. The prior, Fr. Frank Kurtz, told FSSPX.News on September 12,

We had the funeral for Peter Pellerin yesterday. Peter drowned in his car trying to get to Mass during the flood on Sunday, August 27. He had been a parishioner from the beginning and served us well in different roles over the years, --sacristan, bookkeeper, office manager. Most recently he was the bookstore manager. He was 83.

Apart from this tragic death, the material damage, while significant, could have been much worse. Fr. Kurtz explained:

the church and priory did not get flooded although a small leak was discovered in the church roof. The bookstore and school were both flooded. We have delayed school as we work with the insurance to get the building repaired.

In these particularly difficult moments, the charity and mutual help of the faithful rose to the occasion:

We have been overwhelmed with the generous donations we have received. This will allow us to fund the deductible on the insurance and help some of our parishioners who lost their homes and cars in the flood.

The faithful from across the USA also sent several trucks of supplies which greatly aided our parishioners and our neighbors in the days after the disaster.

Florida Suffers a Major Blow

Hurricane Irma struck from August 29 to September 12, 2017. The first category 5 hurricane in history to hit the Caribees, it was also the most powerful hurricane since Hurricane Hugo in 1989 to develop in the North Atlantic. Damages in the entire area are already estimated at over 100 billion dollars.

There was much anxiety in Santo Domingo on the evening of Thursday, September 7, when Irma started sweeping the shores with winds of over 175 mph and flood rains that drove nearly 20,000 people out of their homes. The Society of St. Pius X has a mission run by Fr. Leandro Blanco in Yamasá, in the center of the island. Shortly after the hurricane passed through, the priest wrote his relief: “Thanks to God and to the prayers of the faithful from all over the place, we were not too badly hit by Irma.”

With the help of his fellow priests, the sisters and the faithful, the missionary had taken every possible precaution:

we prepared as well as we could, secured all the weak points in the Mission, the ceilings, the water reserves, etc. The day the hurricane hit us, apart from the strong rains, everything was calm here,

wrote Fr. Blanco.

Needless to say, Heaven was called upon to avoid a drama like what had hit in the French West Indies: “For a week,” reported the missionary, “we gave blessings with the relics of the Holy Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and I am firmly convinced that that is what spared us."

A few days later Irma hit Florida, and this time much harder than Santo Domingo. Fr. Marc Vernoy is stationed there as prior, and his story, received on September 13, tells of the damage caused by the hurricane: “We have been without electricity for three days. Yesterday, the telephone still was not working.”

The faithful seem to have been spared more or less. “So far,” explained Fr. Vernoy, “I have received only good news from our faithful, even in Key West. No one has been hurt. But there has been severe damage. Our properties have been damaged, but it is minor compared to the disasters all around us.”

In Florida as in Santo Domingo, the priests, religious, and faithful implored Heaven to preserve them from the deluge:

I truly believe that our spiritual preparation (sacraments, special prayers, blessings, Candlemas candles lit) and material preparation made a difference: no one ended up alone, and the buildings are safe,

added the French priest.