Pope Francis prays with journalists on a papal flight August 14, 2014. / Alan Holdren/CNA
Rome Newsroom, Sep 21, 2022 / 07:04 am (CNA).
Pope Francis has called on Christians to support communities in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Fiona.
The pope expressed his solidarity with all affected by the category 3 hurricane in a telegram sent on Sept. 21 to bishops in the Caribbean countries.
The telegram signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that Pope Francis “asks the entire Christian community and all people of good will to increase solidarity to help those affected by this disaster.”
More than 1.3 million homes and businesses were left without power in Puerto Rico after the storm dumped 30 inches of rain, causing surging floodwaters, submerged homes, and damaged roads.
Authorities have reported four deaths in Puerto Rico and 2 deaths in the Dominican Republic, where more than 1.15 households were left without potable water after the storm hit on Sept. 19.
Catholic Charities USA is currently coordinating distributions of food, water, and other essential items.
Kim Burgo, vice president of Catholic Charities USA’s disaster operations, told CNA that many families are still recovering from Hurricane Maria, the 2017 storm that the government says caused $90 billion in damage in Puerto Rico.
Pope Francis’ telegram to Bishop Rubén Antonio González Medina of Ponce, Puerto Rico said that he is praying fervently “to the most merciful Father, begging him to grant His consolidation to the beloved Puerto Rican people who are suffering grave misfortunes.”
In the telegram to Dominican Archbishop Freddy Antonio de Jesús Bretón Martínez of Santiago de los Caballeros, said that the pope was entrusting the local community to Our Lady of Altagracia, the patroness of the Dominican Republic.