Category: Florida

Maria’s devastation leaves Puerto Ricans incommunicado

Florida residents seeking ways to get in touch with families, send relief MIAMI | Zorybel González Colón, a Puerto Rican resident of Florida, said she’s mentally prepared to have no communication with her family for at least one month. “I imagine they’re at home, completely unable to communicate,” said González, who has all her family… Read more »

Hurricane’s impact in Florida Keys alarms Charities director

Relief on its way On Sept. 20, Catholic Charities issued an update of the help they had provided so far to stricken communities: • Distributed food, water, diapers, baby wipes and hygiene products to 250 migrant families impacted by Irma in southern Miami-Dade County, in partnership with Sacred Heart Outreach Mission and Three Virtues Social… Read more »

A day in the life of the ‘chainsaw nun’

MIAMI | Sister Margaret Ann Laechelin never imagined that wielding a chainsaw to cut tree branches post-Hurricane Irma would draw local, national and even international media attention. An off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer captured footage on his phone of the sister in action, shared it on the agency’s Twitter account, and the video went viral. So… Read more »

Churches damaged, spirit strong in Southwest Florida

Naples | In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma there are many people with stories of how they rode out the storm and turned to prayer for protection from the fierce winds. In Naples, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish administrator Father Russell Ruggiero feels blessed to be alive after experiencing the ferocity of Irma firsthand by riding… Read more »

Helping, not fame from chainsaw video, brings true joy, says Carmelite

WASHINGTON  |  She inspired many when she rolled up the sleeves of her habit to clean up after Hurricane Irma with a chainsaw. After the local police department posted a video Sept. 12 on Twitter of Carmelite Sister Margaret Ann Laechelin trimming branches off a fallen tree with a chainsaw, she became an instant hit… Read more »

Florida diocesan official says normal life at standstill after Irma

IMMOKALEE, Fla.  |  Peter Routsis-Arroyo, the CEO of the Diocese of Venice’s Catholic Charities, said Hurricane Irma has brought normal life to a standstill in the entire Southwest Florida region. While a large percentage of the population of towns from Marco Island to Naples to Sarasota and Venice had evacuated the state altogether, Routsis-Arroyo is… Read more »

Florida’s Key West residents seek Irma protection at Marian grotto

WASHINGTON  |  As Hurricane Irma was bearing down closer to Florida, residents who had not evacuated from Key West, did what many of them have done before with predicted hurricanes. They gathered to pray at the grotto dedicated to hurricane protection. Days after the hurricane’s path was announced, people began streaming to the outdoor stone… Read more »

Irma weakens as it heads north, but leaves path of destruction

MIAMI  |  A weakened Hurricane Irma churned in Florida after ripping through southern portions of the state and the Caribbean islands, flooding cities, knocking out power to millions, destroying homes and businesses and killing more than 20 people. The massive hurricane, which dwindled to a tropical storm as it neared the Florida-Georgia line early Sept…. Read more »

Irma cuts deadly path in Caribbean, heads toward Florida

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  |  Hurricane Irma cut a deadly path through the Caribbean, leveling entire islands as it moved toward Florida Sept. 7, while Haiti prepared for a potential disaster. Whipping winds of up to 185 mph, dropping a foot or more of rain and causing potentially life-threatening storm surges, Irma posed a particularly grave risk… Read more »

Catholics pray during recent execution

Please see related story on an upcoming execution,…death-row-inmate/ Editor’s note: Father Fred Ruse, pastor of Our Saviour Parish in Cocoa Beach, shares his experience of attending the prayer vigil held during the state execution of Mark Asay Aug. 24. COCOA BEACH | It was like what we read in the Gospel at the approaching… Read more »