April 6, 2012

Letters to the Editor

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Despite tragedy, Church’s presence is evident throughout New Albany Deanery

As a Catholic in the New Albany Deanery in southern Indiana, I have been proud of the Catholic presence in the recovery efforts following the March 2 tornadoes.

Deeply involved and on the front line is Father Steven Schaftlein, pastor of both St. Francis Xavier Parish in Henryville and St. Michael Parish in Charlestown.

Father Schaftlein’s recovery notes distributed by e-mail have been keeping us all informed of the many donations and volunteers that have materialized since March 2.

People from all over the country have mailed donations, prayers and letters of support for the victims of this disaster. Many others have shown up to help with cleanup and repairs, and feed the people.

A group of teenagers from Kentucky is planning its mission trip in July to help the people of Henryville in any way they can. Their youth minister is a former resident of the area, and began setting up plans to “come home and help.”

Father Schaftlein, his staff and volunteers have tirelessly fed, sheltered, counseled and ministered to the people of Henryville. Even with cracks in the structure and a hole in the roof, Mass has been offered every Sunday at the tiny church in Henryville.

On March 25, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator, blessed this parish community by celebrating Mass with them. Later in the day, Bishop Coyne celebrated Mass with the people of St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Parish in Floyd County as he dedicated their beautiful new church.

What a contrast and what a sign of the Church’s presence in southern Indiana.

The deep roots of Catholicism in our deanery feed today’s people in every aspect and venue. The recovery in Henryville will take a while, but it will happen due to the many willing hands and hearts of the people—“the Body of Christ.”

- Dolores Snyder | Sellersburg

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