|By Catholic News Service|
| Tuesday, 24 March 2009 |
| Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo has asked all Catholics in his diocese to pray for the protection of North Dakota residents and communities that may be affected by rising floodwaters, which threatened to destroy about 6,000 homes.|
“Please remember to pray for their protection, for the protection of their families, our communities and also asking the Lord to give us strength during this time of trial,” said Bishop Aquila at Mass March 22 at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo.
The bishop also sent a similar statement by e-mail to all Catholic parishes, religious communities and officials with diocesan offices and Catholic Charities North Dakota.
Several days of unrelenting rain caused the waters of the Red River to rise as much as 5 feet in one day, according to news reports. The city closed a number of bridges over the river.
The Diocese of Fargo encompasses the eastern half of North Dakota. The rising floodwaters were threatening dozens of communities in the river basin in the southern part of North Dakota and in the neighboring state of Minnesota.
Thanking sandbaggersThe diocese experienced similarly high flood waters in 1997 and 2001. In the current storm, The Associated Press reported, the National Weather Service expected floodwaters to crest between 41 feet and 41.5 feet, higher than the record of 39.6 feet set in 1997.
Bishop Aquila expressed gratitude for all the young people who are “embracing this opportunity to help with sandbagging those communities and homes which are threatened.”
By March 24 more than 310,000 bags had been filled and were ready to go, but civil authorities estimated it would take 1.5 million sandbags to protect homes and property from the flooding.
“We need your strength and your work,” said the bishop, “so please volunteer and go out and help where you can.”
The bishop also assured North Dakotans of his prayers for everyone affected.
North Dakota residents put in total effort in trying to protect area from flooding
by Nate Jenkins and Dave Kolpack / Associated Press