On December 15th, John Morales welcomed Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro, KY onto Morning Air to talk about the recent wave of tornadoes that has wreaked havoc on Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
His Excellency began by explaining what happened and the reasons why people were so caught off-guard. Typically, tornadoes do not strike at this time of the year and typically, tornadoes of this size and magnitude do not strike in the evening. Because of this, news reports were sparse throughout the night. When Bishop Medley awoke, it was then that he was finally able to get a clear picture of the devastation that had demolished so many surrounding communities. He said that even today, detailed accounts are hard to come by and they’re still discovering new information by the minute. However, he does know that at least 4 western KY counties have experienced at least 10 fatalities each.
On top of the fatalities that authorities know of, dozens more are injured and missing and about 1,000 families will be homeless due to irreparable damage done to their homes. Additionally, the collapse of a candle factory in Mayfield left many employees dead or injured, some of whom were parishioners of Bishop Medley’s church.
While all of this death and destruction left many heartbroken, distraught, and hopeless, the communities unaffected by the tornadoes are attempting to come together to support those hit hardest. St. Jerome Church invited the Mayfield families to attend Mass with them for Gaudete Sunday and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Bishop Medley said that the pastor gave a profound and emotional homily about the joy that Gaudete Sunday brings, even in the context of such disasters. “It was a marvelous manifestation of faith that here, just hours after such a storm, they were gathering to express their faith and to praise God.”
Bishop Medley said that he has been overwhelmed with support from all sides, from fellow bishops, from parishioners, and from people all over the country. He said that they have had to redirect many of their parish staffers to the phones to field all of the calls from people looking to help. Pope Francis himself offered a prayer for Kentucky during the Angelus on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square. So many people have been entering the affected areas that authorities have had to ask volunteers to stop coming in. With so many helping hands, it was getting difficult to organize. While another problem, it’s the best type of problem to have right now. Kentucky and the surrounding states need all the help they can get, and prayers go out to all of the victims, volunteers, and first responders in the middle of the wreckage.
“You’re just staggered by the loss, but equally staggered by the immense human response of kindness and generosity,” said the bishop. He said that there isn’t much that the average person can do for the needs of Kentucky right now because most power and water services are down, but prayer and donations go a long way. There are several organizations that have traveled to the disaster sites to provide aid and supplies, and they are grateful for any financial help provided by donors. And of course, God is always accepting prayers and He will make sure to provide for those in need.
Comfort of the Afflicted, pray for us!
Listen to the full interview below:
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