Dear Fellow Catholics of the Salina Diocese,
I want to express my gratitude, as well as speak a word of profound thanks on behalf of those who suffered immense losses following the tornadic winds (70-90 mph) and baseball-size hail of the storm on August 10. Once the storm had passed, I stepped outside where I found myself overwhelmed by the damage all around me. The roof of every home in Wakeeney was destroyed and 900 vehicles were totaled! In many instances, the destroyed cars belonged to the working poor. Too, a tremendous amount of windows were shattered, with many homes exposed to the elements. Those who were uninsured or under-insured were facing the worst of the losses. I asked Bishop Weisenburger what help might be available for those in need. With the consent of our Diocesan Council of Priests, he immediately transferred $3,000 from the Priests Council Aid Fund to Catholic Charities. Their office in Hays is responsible for disbursing the funds in our area and they responded wonderfully with the resources the good people of our diocese provided them. In addition, Michelle Martin, Executive Director of our Diocesan Catholic Charities, applied for a $10,000 grant from Catholic Charities USA (the national branch of Catholic Charities). The grant was accepted and Catholic Charities was able to use some of these funds in collaborative efforts with Trego County Emergency Management. Jeannie Riedel from Catholic Charities of Hays set up a table on four different days in front of the local library to hand out application forms for assistance. She has also met with our local Ministerial Alliance multiple times, coordinating to make sure that all who are suffering receive the help they need. We are blessed in our diocese to have such dedicated staff at Catholic Charities. As of this date, the people of our diocese have generously donated $47,000 for this disaster relief. I've never been more proud of Catholic Charities or more grateful for the generosity of our people. My gratitude is profound for each of you who gave sacrificially to help those in need. I should note that Christ the King Parish of Wakeeney has full replacement insurance coverage and, for that reason, the parish itself was not a recipient of any of these funds. Your donations will be used only for victims in our diocese with inadequate or no means to repair their damages. Your incredible response is truly heartwarming. Again, I thank you in the name of Christ the King Parish and the entire community of Wakeeney.
~ Fr. Charlie Steier