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 | Katie Camario

The Diocese of St. Petersburg Disaster Relief Fund Provides Assistance to Hurricane Ian Victims

December 21, 2022 | Hurricane Ian left a path of devastation when it struck September 2022. Many living in the Tampa Bay and Fort Myers area are still dealing with the damage and devastation left in its wake, but much needed help is on the way just in time for Christmas.

In October, Bishop Gregory Parkes asked parishes and missions in the Diocese of St. Petersburg to hold a special collection for the needs of people affected by natural disasters, including Hurricane Ian.

“Our hearts are moved with compassion for all those who have suffered damage and destruction due to Hurricane Ian, especially our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Venice,” said Bishop Gregory Parkes in a September 30th letter to all parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

“This collection will benefit our brothers and sisters in Christ who are impacted by natural disasters, particularly the residents of Southwest Florida,” he added.

Many throughout the diocese held special collections for donated items and funds, including several Catholic schools. Two examples are St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa, who held a drive-through donation drive to collect items needed, and Clearwater Central Catholic High School, where students and families raised over $15,000, for the disaster relief fund.

Bishop Gregory Parkes traveled to Venice, December 21st, to present a $250,000, check to Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice. The funds are to assist those impacted by Hurricane Ian in that local area.

“I thank the faithful of our diocese, for their generosity and we pray for all those that have been impacted by the hurricane and storms,” said Bishop Parkes.

A check was also presented to Maggie Rogers, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg, Friday, December 9th for $238,000. The funds will be used in part, for repairs needed at the San Jose Mission, a housing community that services low-income families involved in agriculture or aquaculture industries in Hillsborough County. The community suffered $550,000 worth of damages.

“Some of the funds will be used to repair the roof damage at San Jose Mission,” said Rogers. “In addition to food, clothing and emergency supplies, much of it has allowed us to send staff members to assist our Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice counterparts who have been overwhelmed as well as provide mobile showers to the people devastated by Hurricane Ian.”

“This was a tough year for storms here in our area as well as our neighbors in the Diocese of Venice. Thanks to the generosity of our people, not only are we able to assist and help those who sustained damage here in our diocese, but also to give hurricane relief to those who were affected in the Diocese of Venice,” said Bishop Parkes.

Since 2017, the Diocese of St. Petersburg has donated over $1 million for disaster relief thanks to the generosity of our parishioners, as outlined below:

$100,000 for tornado relief in the Diocese of Owensboro (2021)

$100,000 for Hurricane Ida Relief in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana (2021)

$75,000 for Hurricane Grace Relief in the Dioceses of Jeremie, Les Cayes and Hinche, Haiti (2021)

$50,000 for Hurricane Laura Relief in the Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana (2020)

$50,000 for Hurricane Laura Relief in the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas (2020)

$100,000 for COVID-19 Relief in the Diocese of St. Petersburg (2019)

$250,000 for Hurricane Dorian Relief in the Archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas (2019)

$300,000 for Hurricane Michael Relief in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee (2018)

$155,000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief in Texas (2017)

$200,000 for Hurricane Maria Relief in Puerto Rico (2017)

$165,000 for Hurricane Irma Relief (2017)