Hurricane season begins, preparation and prayers needed

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is less than a week old and there have already been three named storms, Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha and Cristobal. While no threat to the Diocese of Venice, the storms serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that they can form at any time and preparation ahead of time is key to safety and survival.

With names such as Dolly, Edouard and Fay next on the list of names for potential storms, preparation and vigilance are keys to safety and security from the power of nature should a storm threaten.

While early storms do not necessarily promise this year will be worse than any other season, it only takes one storm to strike your home to make it a bad season. The Hurricane Season officially runs from June 1, 2020 to Nov. 30, 2020 and forecasters with the National Hurricane Center are expecting 12-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes. An average season would have 12 total storms.

Southwest Florida is no stranger to the storms with Hurricane Irma in 2017 leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair in its wake and a year later we saw Hurricane Michael devastate the Florida Panhandle.

To best prepare for a storm, having an emergency plan is crucial. Simple things people need to know or do, include: knowing what evacuation zone you live in (updated annually); having more than one evacuation route; having key documents ready in a waterproof container; knowing where the nearest emergency evacuation shelter is; having a disaster supply kit with essentials, including enough food, water and medications for a minimum of three to seven days. For a list of the essentials for a disaster supply kit, please visit

For those who may need help in evacuating, such as the elderly or handicapped, they must contact the county emergency management office to register for evacuation assistance. This system is updated each year so registering in the past will not guarantee being on a list for 2020.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been the focus for all, emergency management experts suggest buying supplies well ahead of time. The idea is to purchase items at a steady pace to not only lessen the financial burden but to ensure you have all the necessary supplies before there is a last-minute rush and items such as water and batteries are long gone. This will help lessen the fear when a storm does threaten.

Should disaster strike, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice Inc. will be at the forefront in preparing and responding. Catholic Charities would send a team to the epicenter of the disaster and then coordinate to set up relief centers — called PODs, which stands for Points-Of-Distribution – where the need is greatest. These centers – often located at Parishes or next to Catholic Charities offices – will be sites where water, clothing, food and other disaster relief assistance can be distributed.

Catholic Charities CEO Philomena Pereira said that even while responding to the ongoing pandemic with food pantries and other disaster relief Catholic Charities has updated its disaster preparedness plan. This is done in coordination with Catholic Charities offices in Florida and Catholic Charities USA, as well as the Florida Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This update includes learning lessons from past disasters around the country in order to better respond in the future.

The Diocese of Venice is also well versed in responding to these storms. Each Parish, Catholic school and other entities have hurricane preparedness plans which assists in preparation before a storm and recovery afterwards.

Key websites

The following is a list of websites where you can learn more information about how you can be better prepared in the event disaster strikes.

National Hurricane Center:

Federal Emergency Management Agency:

Florida Division of Emergency Management:

Hurricane Prayer

As we enter the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1-Nov. 30), a prayer is presented here by which one asks God for protection and safety from the storms that often threaten Southwest Florida. With the formation of Tropical Storm Arthur in med-May, it promises to be another busy season of watching the tropics. We must all remember the devastating effect of Hurricane Irma from 2017 and what was witnessed when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018, everyone in the Diocese of Venice knows and understands the power of these storms and the suffering which follows in their wake.

Prayer for Safety in Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world,

hear the humble voices of your children.

The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order

and returned to its former quietude.

You are still the Master of land and sea.

We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control:

the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy,

overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.

During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father.

Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid

and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.

O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you

to plead with your Son on our behalf,

so that spared from the calamities common to this area

and animated with a true spirit of gratitude,

we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son

to reach the heavenly Jerusalem,

where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen.

Oración para la temporada de huracanes

O Dios, Señor de este mundo pasajero,

escucha la humilde voz de tus hijos.

El Mar de Galilea obedeció Tu orden

y volvió a su anterior quietud.

Tu todavía eres el Señor de tierra y mar.

Vivimos en la sombra del peligro sobre el cual no tenemos control;

el Golfo, como un violento gigante, puede despertar de su aparente letargo,

sobrepasar sus límites, invadir nuestra tierra y sembrar caos y desastre.

Durante esta temporada de huracanes acudimos a Ti, O Padre Misericordioso.

Líbranos de tragedias como las pasadas que están tan vivas en nuestra

memoria y cuyas heridas rehúsan ser curadas con el paso del tiempo.

O Virgen, Estrella del Mar, nuestra amada Madre, te pedimos

que intercedas ante tu Hijo por nosotros,

para que nos libre de las calamidades comunes a esta área,

y animados con un verdadero espíritu de gratitude

caminemos en los pasos de tu Divino Hijo

para llegar a la Jerusalén Celestial,

donde una eternidad sin tormentas nos espera. Amen.