WASHINGTON (September 23, 2005) - Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston announced today that the Task Force established by the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will also deal with the impact of Hurricane Rita which is about to hit the Gulf Coast.
Archbishop Fiorenza was named chairman of the Task Force by Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the USCCB.
This Task Force of Bishops and representatives of leading Catholic organizations which are collecting funds and carrying on relief work was established by the Administrative Committee to build on what is already in place and to seek to:
* support the many efforts of the affected dioceses;
* encourage a sustained response from the Catholic community;
* coordinate the many diverse efforts in order to increase effectiveness, assure accountability and eliminate duplication;
* examine the future moral and policy implications of this disaster for the Church and society.
Members of the Task Force are Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, and Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, of Pensacola.Tallahassee.
Catholic organizations participating are the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Charities, USA, the Catholic Church Extension Society of the USA, the Catholic Communication Campaign, Catholic Relief Services, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights of Peter Claver, Migration and Refugee Services, the National Catholic Educational Association, Office for Retired Religious, the Secretariat for Home Missions, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Archbishop Fiorenza said, "As many victims of Hurricane Katrina who took refuge in Galveston.Houston now move on because this region is facing its own hurricane.related danger, this Task Force is determined to be prepared to address whatever needs will arise in the wake of this second storm."
Executive Director of the USCCB Committee and Office on the Diaconate, Deacon Bill Ditewig, Ph.D., serves as staff to the Task Force.