Bishop Frank J. Dewane called upon all to pray as Hurricane Ian approached the Diocese of Venice and put into action plans to ensure the safety and recovery after the storm passes.
“As people of Faith, we are called to pray to Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary in times of peril,” Bishop Dewane said. “May we find comfort in the Lord as Hurricane Ian threatens, and that our suffering brothers and sisters quickly find safety and comfort in the Lord.”
As Hurricane Ian, Bishop Dewane met with members of the Diocesan Emergency Response Team on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, and then on Monday, Sept. 26. The first of these meetings was to review and then implement existing emergency plans for all Parishes, Schools and other entities within the Diocese.
These emergency plans were established to create policies to ensure an ease of preparation when tropical weather threatens. This includes checklists and basic guidance to ensure that the people and the buildings within the Diocese are secured and rendered as safe as possible before a storm arrives. In addition, the emergency plans also direct actions needed to respond to the impacts of a storm.
By implementing these plans, Parishes, Schools and other entities first follow local emergency management guidance, and using this as a base, start making plans to close offices, secure and limit access to buildings and take other necessary actions.
All Diocesan Catholic Schools were closed either Sept. 27, or Sept. 28, following public schools, and each will reopen as soon as possible. Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education Father John Belmonte, SJ, said “any decision to reopen will be made when the Diocese is confident individual schools have power and all facilities are safe for our students and faculty.”
Diocesan Parishes follow local guidance in terms of evacuation orders and several cancelled daily Mass, as well as other activities, with expectations to reopen when a safety assessment is completed as needed. Parishes in areas which have limited impacts (such as no loss of power or minimal damage in the area) would be expected to reopen by the end of the week.
In addition, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., is also prepared to respond and set Points of Distribution (POD) in areas of greatest need. These POD locations, preplanned and established in coordination with county and state emergency management officials, will include the distribution of water, ice and food.
After Hurricane Ian passes, those interested in volunteering to assist, donating unused hurricane supplies, or offering financial support for the recovery effort need to visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org for details on how to help.
The Diocese of Venice will also be updating the website (www.dioceseofvenice.org) and posting to social media where the greatest need is and how people can help.
Please continue to pray for the safety of all involved and in the path of Hurricane Ian.
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