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Bishop Shelton Fabre calls on Black Catholics for Hurricane Ida relief

The diocese most affected by Hurricane Ida in August is still in recovery mode, and its Black bishop is calling on his fellow African Americans for help.

(The Times of Houma/Thibodaux)

With his diocese still in recovery from Hurricane Ida, Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux has put out a call for assistance to the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver, the largest and oldest Black Catholic organization in the United States.

“We are moving into the phase of our recovery where we will begin to help people to deal with their homes,” Fabre said in a video message sent to the fraternal order last month.

He described the “muck and gut” process currently underway on homes in the coastal Louisiana community, a heavily damaged area near where Ida made landfall in late August.

“One of the ways you might consider helping us is forming groups of volunteers… to address the needs that they have in making their homes livable again.”

Fabre also called for financial support, highlighting the needs of the two Black parishes in the diocese: St Lucy Catholic Church in Houma and St Luke in Thibodaux.

“I would ask that you consider supporting those two parish communities with a monthly donation for a year,” he said, noting the model of charity that is the KPC patron himself.

“Please pray for us... and ask that through the intercession of St Peter Claver, we might assist those who are in need.”

Within days of his message being shared with the nation’s Clavers, one unit in Louisville, Ky.—from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Louisville—had raised $1,000.

The KPC national office has also organized an official campaign in response to Fabre’s appeal, in which each unit around the country is to contribute during a given month over the course of the next year.

Fabre, one of just two African-American ordinaries in the United States, earlier this month published a column in the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, his former home, reflecting on his priestly calling in times of tragedy like Ida.

“Challenges such as this can cause us to reflect anew upon our call,” he said.

“I am nonetheless able to say that in my 32 years as a priest and my 14 years as a bishop I have been fulfilled in ministry and deeply grateful for the call of the Lord given to me.”

Those interested in supporting the KPC’s fundraising efforts can find more information here.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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