By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
Parishes and ministries in the Archdiocese of Mobile are continuing to assess damage from Category 2 Hurricane Sally that struck the Gulf Coast early Sept. 16.
Hurricane Sally caused mostly roof damage and related interior leaks, according to Archdiocese of Mobile Facilities Manager Robin Rockstall. Hardest-hit areas were in southern Baldwin and Mobile counties.
St. Thomas-by-the Sea Parish in Orange Beach, which sits across the street from the Gulf of Mexico, was the hardest-hit parish. Mass on Sunday, Sept. 20 was celebrated outside.
Our Lady of the Gulf Parish in Gulf Shores reported on Facebook it received “minor/moderate damage” and debris needed to be removed from the property.
The National Hurricane Center reported the hurricane made landfall near Gulf Shores with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. More than 500,000 homes and businesses lost electricity by the morning of Sept. 16. Power has been restored in most of Mobile County, but as of Sept. 21, poweroutage.us reported more than 44,000 customers were still without power in Baldwin County.
Before the hurricane struck, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi blessed Mobile Bay. He tweeted “I observed a generations-old tradition: the Archbishop blesses Mobile Bay when a hurricane nears & prayed that Jesus, who calmed the storm, would hear our prayers for protection from Hurricane Sally. On this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows may she wrap her mantle around us.”
In his column for The Catholic Week, Archbishop Rodi wrote: “Most of all, we pray for those who died because of the storm. I am grateful for the Catholic parishes from outside of our archdiocese who sent truckloads of water, cleaning supplies and other aid to our most affected areas and for those who came to provide free hot meals.
“I am also grateful for the people in our Catholic Social Services who, aided by your donations to Catholic Charities, were able to assist in the days after the storm. May God bless all these good people. Now the long haul begins to repair the damage. Catholic Social Services will be part of this effort.”
Archdiocese of Mobile Catholic Schools were closed Sept. 15-18 due to the storm, but all were reopened by Sept. 21 with the exception of St. Patrick Catholic School in Robertsdale and St. Benedict Catholic School in Elberta.
– Catholic News Service contributed to this story.