Archbishop George J. Lucas greets a worshiper after a morning Mass a St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn. He celebrated two Pentecost Masses at the parish that was heavily impacted by an April 26 tornado. SUSAN SZALEWSKI/STAFF

Equipping Disciples

Archbishop Lucas delivers message to parish impacted by tornado

Archbishop George J. Lucas chose to be with members of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn on Pentecost.

The archbishop had a message for the parish after an April 26 tornado devastated parts of Elkhorn. He celebrated two Sunday morning Masses at the parish.

“My desire wasn’t to come and make a big announcement or to ask you for anything,” he told those worshiping at a 9:30 a.m. Mass.

“But there are two things that I want to make sure I do. And the first is to assure the people of your community … particularly whose lives were directly threatened by the tornado and those whose possessions and homes had been damaged or destroyed, that the Catholic community all across the archdiocese is with you, praying for you and continuing to keep you in our hearts and prayers.

“We continue to get calls at our archdiocesan offices from people all around asking ‘What can we do?’ And we of course direct them here,” the archbishop said in his homily.

The parish’s enormous response to devastation was the second reason for his visit.

“Thank you to all of you for your beautiful witness during this difficult time for so many people in your community,” Archbishop Lucas said. “It’s a really beautiful thing to witness.”

A core group of about 225 volunteers – from St. Patrick and other parishes – has distributed more than $300,000 in donations that have poured into the parish.

With the donations and manpower, St. Patrick has been able to reach out to tornado victims on a one-to-one basis, connecting them with community resources, including spiritual and emotional support, meals, transportation, housing, help with insurance and much more.

“You have my admiration,” the archbishop told the congregation at Mass. “I’m very proud to know what has been going on and will continue to be offered here at St. Patrick’s in so many ways to people who are in need, what’s going on all the time.”

“I think if we were to ask ourselves, what would Pentecost look like today, if that happened again, I think what you’ve been experiencing and showing here is a good illustration of it,” he said. “People who went out of their own way to reach out to neighbors who were struggling.”

“The Lord put them in front of you in their need, and you have responded so beautifully. This is how Jesus operates, and I think this is how we make Jesus credible in our own time.” 



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