By ZENIT Staff

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued the following statement after severe weather killed at least 19 people in the South late Sunday into early Monday morning. In their statement, Archbishops Gomez and Coakley call for prayer and assistance for all those who were in the path of the storm, as well as hope in the good news of Easter.

Full statement from Archbishops Gomez and Coakley follows:

“This Easter Monday began with the sad news that storms swept through multiple states in the South overnight, killing at least 19 people at the time of this statement across Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. The weather also inflicted significant damage in Texas, Louisiana, and West Virginia. Many people have suffered damage or loss of their homes.

“In the midst of these tragedies, we must reach out and offer assistance to those affected, especially those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. This situation is made even more difficult by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We pray for those who are suffering, for those who have died, and for the first responders who are courageously offering help. We also pray for those who remain in the path of these storms and for their safety and well-being.

“In the Gospel this morning, we hear the Lord after his resurrection tell Mary Magdalene and the other women, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ (Mt. 28:10). The letter to the Hebrews describes the hope we have in God’s promise as ‘an anchor of the soul, sure and firm.’ (cf. Heb. 6:19). In the midst of disasters from weather and illness, we cling to this hope, that God can redeem our suffering and loss, that God is present to us even now, and that the Lord has conquered death for all time, inviting us to see him face to face in eternal life.”

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