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A house badly damaged following tornadoes in Kentucky A house badly damaged following tornadoes in Kentucky  (AFP or licensors)

US Tornadoes: Through the heartbreak, there's hope, says Bishop Medley

The Bishop of Owensboro, William F. Medley speaks of the lives torn apart by tornadoes that struck Kentucky, in the United States over the weekend.

By Thaddeus Jones and Lydia O’Kane

US President Joe Biden is to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday to see for himself the damage wrought by last weekend’s devastating tornadoes.

The president has also ordered his administration to make every resource available to local and state officials in Kentucky and the other states impacted by the storms.

Bishop William F. Medley leads the diocese of Owensboro in western Kentucky which was hit hard by the disaster.

Aid to victims

Since the tornadoes struck, the Catholic community has been uniting in prayer and offering concrete support to the victims.

Last weekend, the Bishop asked all parishes in his diocese to take up a special collection to help those impacted by the tornado.

One of the areas in Kentucky that bore the brunt of the tornadoes was Mayfield, where a candle factory was destroyed killing 8 people and injuring a number of others

In a statement, the Bishop said “many of those injured in the Mayfield candle factory were parishioners, and others represented migrants and the marginalized in our communities.”

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Bishop Medley said he visited the Catholic community of St. Joseph’s Church in Mayfield. The church was damaged in the storms but on Sunday the neighbouring parish of St Jerome welcomed the people of St Joseph’s.

Listen to the interview with Bishop Medley

Damaged caused

The Bishop said he was intending to visit the Resurrection Catholic Church in Dawson’s Springs on Wednesday.  The town was literally “wiped out” by the storms. “It would appear that the Catholic Church building is not going to be recoverable,” he said.

Bishop Medley noted that several of the Churches in the diocese were participating in relief efforts, adding that there were people still being found in their homes without heat, light, or water.

Hope amid heartbreak

“It is both a story of heartbreak, with all the loss and death and loss of property but there’s a story of great hope as people are stepping up from all over the country and the world to assist us," he said.

Bishop Medley underlined that both he and many other people received great comfort from Pope Francis’ words during the Sunday Angelus from St Peter's Square where he prayed for the victims of the disaster.

It was “heartwarming” that the Pope had the community on his mind, he said.

Bishop Medley also expressed his gratitude to other dioceses that were taking up collections to aid his community.

“It’s just humbling to know that people have us on their minds, and in their prayers, and are making sacrifices for us.”

14 December 2021, 18:45