To the parishioners and friends of Our Lady of the Isle, as well as to the entire Grand Isle community: Peace be with you!
Wanted to give you a brief update on a few things.
When I saw the projected path and inevitable impact of Hurricane Ida, I chose to return from sabbatical one month early. I arrived in the United States, landing in Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, August 31. On Wednesday, September 1, Bishop Fabre asked me to serve as Diocesan Director of Hurricane Ida Disaster Response. Completing the two-day drive home, I arrived in Schriever on Friday, September 3. I am currently living with Bishop Fabre at the Bishop's residence and working daily from the Diocesan Pastoral Center.
Due to my immediate limited availability and until I can get back to the island more permanently, I have asked Deacon James Rome to be my eyes and ears on the island. He is currently on the island, working closely with local officials, assuring that Our Lady of the Isle is "at the table" in conversation with emergency response.
The church has suffered damage. Plans are already underway to move accordingly to fix what needs to be fixed so that we can be back on our feet. While we have a long road ahead of us, we have been here before and we will recover.
It is my hope to return to the island soon. It is my hope to celebrate Mass in the parking lot next weekend, September 18-19. I will update you on those details.
Most personally, many of our parishioners have and will be devastated from the impact of the storm. The most important thing that lies before us is the challenge to stay focused on the people who are most in need.
I'll keep you in the loop. Until then let's keep praying for each other.