A changed new world for all of us

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

Those of us who still had roofs over our heads didn’t just sit there and remind ourselves of how lucky we are we sat there and cried for our fellow human beings who were suffering and in so many ways suffered with them. Their ethnicity didn’t matter; their pain did.

In LaPlace, there was, however, a semblance of normalcy this week which was very much needed as St. Joan of Arc’s confirmation celebration proceeded as planned. Helena Cupit, their Director of Religious Education, was reluctant to take any credit for the successful culmination of the confirmation class of 2005, but, obviously, it had to be difficult considering the circumstances surrounding us. She acknowledges all the work of others as a team and that too was very obvious. For instance, even though Mary Cooper’s son was on armed security duty in New Orleans, she was there volunteering at the Family Life Center with others.

It took several hours for Archbishop Hughes of the New Orleans Diocese, also an evacuee attempting to direct his diocese from a distance, to get from Baton Rouge to LaPlace, and he attempted to put some of the recent hurricane tragedy into perspective for us. I was impressed when he said Faith has to mature in darkness; we are not in control – God is in control? He also reminded us to not be so eager to find fault because there is no way we can be prepared for every catastrophe. In addition, he said God has invited us in the moment of human catastrophe to reach out to others?

Then, when the Archbishop suggested that God is inviting us to move out from a selfish way of life? I thought about my own attitude these past few weeks. I really thought I had become a better person as I got older but, to be honest, my behavior recently has told me I have yet a long way to go to get to the place I need to be. For instance, before we got electricity back, I insulted the members of the Garyville Fire Department and realizing how wrong I was spent the rest of the day apologizing. Chief Faron Slim? Duhe has always been a hero of mine for his unrelenting work and concern with the Department so I felt even worse. Then, after we got electricity I still continued ranting and raving at any little thing, even at the men picking up the tree limbs, so I further shamed myself. I am truly sorry, everybody. As I have said, I have a long way to go.

I have been housing relatives who evacuated and so have many of you. It is understood that this places stress on everyone involved and those without homes are even more stressed. On television there was a family of 40 sharing a house and they talked about getting on each other nerves? Surely we have all been given the opportunity to get out of our selfishness because most of us are accustomed to being in our own tidy little worlds. I truly believe we need to be grateful that we are the givers and not the given; at least, not this time. Yet, I find myself lacking in patience and understanding. Indeed, I have such a long way to go. I have too much mouth? and not enough patience and understanding. If I said excuse me, but Im Italian? I don’t believe that would work.

Archbishop Hughes said that after this, we might be a transformed people. That sounds logical. Perhaps the path the City and the rest of us were on needed to go in a different direction for our own good. How God chooses to accomplish that good, we are yet to know. In time, I believe we will.