Bishop Johnston sends thanks for Joplin assistance

Diocesan Team work: The F-5 tornado that struck Joplin May 22 devastated much of the city and is now counted the sixth deadliest tornado in U.S. history. As news teams from all over the region raced to the stricken city, Kansas City-St. Joseph parishioners and Catholic Charities staff members swung into action to help the people. On Aug. 27, a group of volunteers from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph traveled to Joplin to help in the rebuilding. Above, Bishop Robert W. Finn carries an armload of paneling up from the basement of a leveled home in St. Mary’s Parish. Volunteer Bill Wiedeman offers a hand over the last step. The group of volunteers was preparing the house to be rebuilt. They also stopped by St. Mary’s Church and school, which had been destroyed by the tornado. Stories published over the summer in The Catholic Key recounted parishioners gathering food, clothing and supplies and contributing financially to the ongoing relief efforts, helping with day-to-day living expenses, rent and utility payments, and other expenses as the people of Joplin labor to rebuild their homes and businesses, and their lives. (photo courtesy of Kerry Essman)

Dear Friends in Christ of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph,

The days since the devastating tornado struck the city of Joplin on May 22, 2011, have been very eventful. The scale of the destruction and suffering is difficult to describe, and much remains to be done. Yet there are also too many signs of God’s grace to count, and much for which to be grateful, which brings me to the purpose of this letter.

While assistance came from all parts of our nation, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph stepped in with extraordinary, immediate help. The collections taken up over the Memorial Day weekend, the donations gathered from your local Catholic Charities website, the staff and volunteers from Catholic Charities that came with their expertise to help organize the influx of donations and workers, are all signs that you are instruments of God’s peace and charity. I am grateful to your shepherd, Bishop Robert Finn, for his leadership in sending such generous financial help and so many wonderful people to assist us in our time of need. And, I am humbled by the material gifts and fervent prayers that have been offered by all of you.

The recent article in The Catholic Key mentioned the bond that exists between the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. As you may know, our diocese was formed in 1956 from both the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Kansas City. Indeed, our history is firmly linked to these two local churches. The support that we have received from all the dioceses of Missouri and beyond is a sign of our Catholic communion, and the bond of charity that flows from that communion.

I am sure many of you are aware that daunting work lies ahead in Joplin. The Church will be there to bring the love of Jesus Christ, and the hope that comes from encountering Him. This work of love is made easier because of your generosity.

With deep gratitude and the assurance of my prayers, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Jr., D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau

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Friday
March 24, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph