In New Orleans, the sacred and the profane dance every day.
When I began to understand the degree of devastation in New Orleans, I first could not help but wonder, like New Orleans native, Oswald Sobrino, whether Hurricane Katrina's aftermath was retributive. I have never been to New Orleans, so I freely admit I possess the distorted view of the city's seedy public image.
As a guest on yesterday's Relevant Radio Program, The Right Questions with Sheila Liaugminas, Mr. Arroyo, also a New Orleans native, described a very different city, a very Catholic city, including the tidbit that it has the highest percentage of Eucharistic Adoration chapels per capita in the US. Given also that Bourbon St. is one of the relatively lesser affected areas, it seems remote that God is smiting the Big Easy. Nevertheless, the video juxtaposition in the news of looters and heroic rescuers calls to mind that New Orleans' Catholic culture has the opportunity to transform this devastation. We can only imagine what powerful Grace can be born in Faith, Hope, and Love of such tremendous suffering.
Considering Mr. Arroyo's quote above, and that the need for the dance to continue is as real and as urgent as ever in this desperate time, as part of Blog for Relief Day, The Troglodyte requests you support the city of New Orleans by 1.) Beginning today (or ASAP), if you have not started already, say a Novena to St. Jude for all the victims, direct and indirect, of Hurricane Katrina and the city of New Orleans, and 2.) Making as generous a contribution as you can to Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, International Shrine of St. Jude.
Devotion to St. Jude Thaddeus - known as the patron for difficult and apparently impossible cases was cultivated as early as the 1920s by a group of parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church who had petitions granted through the Apostle's intercession. This group was encouraged by Father Bornes, OMI to begin a public Novena in honor of St. Jude. Father Bornes obtained ecclesiastical permission and the first devotions were inaugurated on Sunday, January 6, 1935. An authenticated relic of St. Jude was given to the church by a friend and a small statue of the saint, which had been in the rectory for years, was placed in a side niche. As devotions increased, a new lifesize statue of St. Jude was placed in a shrine where it remained at the far end of the communion rail, until the new St. Jude Shrine was built in 1976. In addition to functioning as a local Catholic Church for nearly 180 years, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel is home to ongoing devotions to St. Jude as visitors come to seek aid and to grow closer in their relationship to God.
The International Shrine of St. Jude and its Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel is located at 411 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70112, just blocks away from Canal St. and on the edge of the French Quarter. It is staffed by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. You can also try contacting via phone (504)525-1551, fax (504)525-1827, or e-mail.
For those who would rather contribute to a more traditional relief agency, Catholic Charities is a worthy choice.
St. Jude, Pray for Us, and for all who honor and invoke thy aid.
See Instapundit and TTLB Katrina Relief page for more recommended charities and blogs participating in Blog for Relief Day.