Local Churches Gather To Help Victims Of Ivan

On the first Sabbath following a long week of Hurricane damage and devastation many of the faithful returned to their houses of worship Sunday for comfort and consultation.

Coast Catholics are also pledging their prayers, as well as, their financial support to those affected by Hurricane Ivan.

Evening mass at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi had a whole new significance this weekend.

"Jesus said where their is two of you or more gathered then he's going to be here with us. So everybody knows that as other people are praying for you then it's going to be that way, and they give you a warmer feeling," said parishioner Chris Billeaud.

There were prayers of thanks for being spared Hurricane Ivans full fury.

"Because we know it could be us the next time. It could be us several times in a year," said parishioner Jane Dietz.

Prayers of compassion for our eastern neighbors who felt the full force of that fury.

"I want to support in every way that I can, especially those people in Gulf Shores and Pensacola that got hit strait on," said parishioner Erika Long.

There were also calls to come to the aid of Ivans victims lead by the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.

"We have collections here at Fatima almost every weekend, so the best weekend for collections is always the first weekend of the month. So because the collection for the hurricane victims is so important, we are having ours on the first weekend of October for the victims of Hurricane Ivan," said Our Lady of Fatima Priest Father Patrick Mockler.

Having already raised more than 60 thousand dollars for the victims of Charley and Francis, the faithful here stand ready to help the victims of Ivan as well, both financially and spiritually.

"So many people loose their faith whenever there's a tragedy. So if we can just pray that their faith will be reinstated or increased, this will help them get through the tragedies," said parishioner Sandy Meaut.

"People are good and natural disasters bring out the best in people. And they want to help each other and we want to be good neighbors to the people in Alabama and Florida," said Father Patrick.

By: Don Culpepper