‘Harvey’ collection: Time to give back for a diocese has seen its share of floods

Communities throughout the Diocese of Peoria have plenty of experience with flooding and disaster relief. Our region is blessed with many rivers — the Mississippi, the Illinois, the Vermilion, the Fox, the Rock, the Mackinaw, the Spoon, to name a few — which add beauty, offer recreation, and boost transportation and commerce.

But these rivers as well as creeks occasionally spill over their banks, flooding area communities and the surrounding farmland.

Father James DeBisschop surveys downtown Keithsburg during the Flood of ’93. (Catholic Post file)

While the Harvey flooding is on a mega-scale, we’ve witnessed water covering mile after mile here as well. Perhaps the most memorable in recent years was the Great Flood of 1993 that inundated the Mississippi River basin that summer, devastating communities such as Keithsburg and Niota.

For those communities and a host of others in our diocese that have known the misery of floods, the images from Texas the past two weeks must have triggered many memories. And hopefully those memories include how neighbor came to help neighbor, parish came to help parish, and strangers from distant places joined the clean-up effort or sent donations.

Those memories were likely shared in central Illinois communities such as Washington, Gifford, and Utica, which are among those that faced recovery not from a hurricane, but from tornadoes.

Now it’s our turn to offer assistance through generous gifts to a collection for victims of Hurricane Harvey being received at all parish Masses this weekend. (See story, page one.)

A new hurricane threatening Florida and talk of war with North Korea may have moved those suffering in Texas out of the national news, but as those who have experienced disasters here well know, the needs and the hard work remain long after the media spotlight fades. Pray about what you might be called to give, and then be generous.

Motivated by our love of God and neighbor, let’s send a river of relief from the Diocese of Peoria to our brothers and sisters in need. — Thomas J. Dermody

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