The Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet, my parish, will take a second collection for the Angels For Alabama Mission this weekend. Fr. Brad Baker asked me to make a personal appeal during each Mass, and this is my prepared remarks.
For those of you who do not know me, I am Brian McDaniel. My wife and I have been parishioners here for nearly a decade, and our son, Graeme, just completed Kindergarten at the school last week.
I would like you to imagine that you are standing in the parking lot at the Louis Joliet Mall, and you have a completely unobstructed view of this Cathedral. There is nothing in between. No homes. No businesses on Larkin Avenue. No trees. No landmarks to orient yourself. Because it is all gone.
About a month ago, my hometown experienced such devastation.
An EF-4 tornado tore a path six miles long and half-a-mile wide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. For those of you who remember seeing that tornado on television or the internet, that twister you saw had just destroyed my family’s neighborhood and a nearby grade school. Thankfully, my family survived.
Unfortunately, forty-one others did not.
I am here to ask you to help me help my hometown.
The Diocese has agreed to sponsor a mission next month to Tuscaloosa. It will be the first of what we pray will be three trips this year. I am proud to say that Father Jason will lead our first trip. His experience from Columbine will be a tremendous resource.
Our first trip leaves July 2nd for seven days. We will assist the recovery. Debris removal. Moving supplies. Feeding both the displaced and the other volunteers, particularly in the most economically disadvantaged parts of town.
Fr. Brad has generously given us the opportunity for a second collection this weekend, and I am asking you to prayerfully consider helping us financially.
The cost of transporting and feeding twelve volunteer to a location 800 miles away will cost lost about ten thousand dollars.
If you can help, please do. If you would like to write a check, make it payable to the Cathedral. You also can donate online at Angels for Alabama Dot Org.
As storms have wrecked communities across the country in recent weeks, I am sure many of you recall the pain of the Plainfield tornado, and how thousands of people from across the country did what they could to help our area.
That same generous spirit is alive and well in west Alabama right now. And I want to thank you for your prayers and your generosity. Thank you and God Bless you all.