In Hurricane Isaac's wake, prayers and help for victims

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Louisiana Air National Guard help rescue citizens from Braithwaite in Plaquemines Parish Aug. 29, 2012. DoD photo by Capt. Lance Cagnolatti, U.S. Army.

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans prayed for victims of Hurricane Isaac, as the archdiocese's Catholic Charities affiliate assesses damage and helps those affected.

“We consciously place ourselves in God’s presence and ask him to give us his protection,” Archbishop Aymond said.

“God has always promised to protect us in challenging times, and we ask that God does that now, especially with those who are struggling. Bless us and help us reach those in need.”

His prayer came in an Aug. 29 conference call with the leadership of New Orleans' Catholic Charities, according to the archdiocesan newspaper The Clarion Herald.

In another prayer published by Catholic Charities, he asked God to bless those awaiting rescue, the elderly, and the emergency crews.

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in the U.S. on Aug. 28. It dropped more than 15 inches of rain and flooded parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, killing at least six. Although the storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people, New Orleans did not suffer major damage, the Associated Press reported.

However, Catholic Charities said damage assessments are underway and many residents in the Archdiocese of New Orleans will need assistance. The agency’s leaders and Archbishop Aymond are finalizing their response plan. The agency’s crisis counselors and case managers are working with evacuees while other teams will spread into the affected areas.

“Residents of Plaquemines Parish, the towns of Slidell, LaPlace, Madisonville and Mandeville have suffered the most damage, but the situation remains fluid and assessments continue to identify damage,” the local agency said Aug. 30.

Archbishop Aymond has feared that Assumption of Our Lady Mission in Braithwaite, La. to New Orleans’ southwest sustained heavy flooding. He visited first responders in the affected area on Thursday afternoon, The Clarion Herald reported.

Before the storm made landfall, Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, said the national organization is “ready to meet the needs of those who will be most affected by this storm.”

Experience and investment, he said, will make relief efforts “more effective and better prepared” than they were in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The archdiocese plans to provide direct financial assistance to those most affected by the storm. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans is seeking donations on its website www.ccano.org.

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