Tornado response brings us together

The principle that “what unites us is greater than what divides us” is a foundation of almost any ecumenical dialogue or effort. And it is sadly, yet wonderfully, true that what unites our faith communities like nothing else seems to be major tragedies — be it a disaster of a national scope like 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina, or more localized ones like the floods and tornadoes that we see repeated here in central Illinois.

“I am touched by such generous hearts of people and their willingness to help,” said Father Tony Fevlo, SMA, administrator of two faith communities serving and Ottawa and Naplate, hard hit by the twisters of Feb. 28. He told The Catholic Post that a woman from Chicago sent a $100 check with instructions to “use it to help people in need.”

Whether sandbagging to hold back flood waters, walking a field to clean and salvage tornado debris, or serving meals and hospitality at a community center after a disaster, persons from various churches rub elbows, put their faith into action, and — as the season of Lent calls us to do — ponder the fragility of both life and property.

We commend all who have responded to the needs of tornado victims from the Feb. 28 storms, especially in Ottawa-Naplate and Washburn. May your example spur us to seek greater unity among the Body of Christ when wind, water and other destructive forces are calm, which we pray is for a very long time. — Thomas J. Dermody

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