By Joachim Teigen
Starting on Monday night, several storms and a tornado made their way through the State of Tennessee in the United States, destroying hundreds of buildings, and killing at least 24 people.
On Wednesday morning, Tennessee's emergency management officials reported the number of deaths as being at 24, with many more currently unaccounted for.
Tennessee has declared a State of Emergency, and the primary mission is still saving lives and search and rescue. The exact number of injuries is currently unknown.
Bishop prays for all victims
One of the cities most affected by the tornado is Nashville.
The city’s Bishop, J. Mark Spalding, prayed for all those who had lost their lives, all who are grieving, and those whose property has been destroyed. It was also the Bishop’s prayer that those who need help may find support in their brothers and sisters in Christ.
According to the Diocese of Nashville, no employees of the diocese, parishes or schools have suffered any harm. The damage to church buildings is still being assessed.
Catholic relief efforts
Together with Catholic Charities, the diocese has already started collecting donations for relief efforts. Catholic Charities is still in the process of contacting parishes in the affected areas to determine what the needs are.
Below follows the prayer of Bishop Spalding in the aftermath of the tornado:
Loving God, be with all those who are suffering in the aftermath of this violent storm. Grant peace to those who have died and comfort and strength to those who grieve them. May those who have suffered damages or lost homes and possessions find support in our brothers and sisters in Christ and consolation in the knowledge of your presence. Guard and guide first responders and aid workers, protect those who are most vulnerable, and keep us all safe in your unending love.
We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, whom even the winds and the sea obey. Amen.