A Plea For Help: A Call To Solidarity With Hurricane And Flood Victims Globally.

These past two weeks, we in the United States have witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. With images of Texas that are reminiscent of the "100 Year Storm" called Hurricane Katrina from 2005, the devastation provokes two thoughts: Are 100 year storms now going be 12 year storms and how can we help the people of Texas?

Outside of the United States, devastating floods are ravaging other parts of the world. In Bangladesh, the death toll is over 130 with millions of people being displaced. In Nepal, the death toll is over 140, while extreme flooding in different regions of India have caused over 500 deaths. In Sierra Leone, the presumed death toll due to floods will be more than 1,000 people.

This Friday, Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew will be making a joint statement on the need to care for creation. In light of this, I will save my thoughts on our current ecological crisis for Monday. Today, let us pray for the victims of all of these storms. May we be moved to solidarity, offering our support to assist relief efforts in these regions. Below are specific links you can follow to donate to areas of global crisis. May our faith inspire us to support those in need. Thank you for your generosity.

Sierra Leone: Catholic Relief Services

Texas: Catholic Charities - USA or Catholic Relief Services

I was not able to find a specific donation site for Bangladesh and India, but you can follow the link to Caritas International to find information about how to give to these and/or other emergencies globally.


Fr. James Kurzynski

About Fr. James Kurzynski

Fr. James Kurzynski is a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin and a hobby astronomer. Originally from the small town of Amherst in rural central Wisconsin, Fr. James completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, majoring in Applied Music (Saxophone, Voice, and Composition). After graduating from UW-SP, Fr. James worked at the University of Nebraska at Kearney as a Hall Director and pursued a M.S.ed. in Group Counseling. After a year at UNK, Fr. James left his position to attend the University of Saint Mary of the Lake - Mundelein Seminary to discern his priestly vocation.

Fr. James earned a Bachelor in Sacred Theology, a Master of Divinity, and a License in Sacred Theology. While pursuing these degrees, Fr. James also studied Spiritual Theology with the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University and completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Fr. James was ordained a priest June 28, 2003. Fr. James’ first assignment was as an Associate at the Tri-Parishes of St. Mary’s - Durand, Holy Rosary Parish - Lima, and Sacred Heart Parish - Mondovi. After two years, Fr. James was assigned as Chaplain and Instructor of Religion at Regis Middle and High School and was also assigned Associate Vocation Director. In his final year at Regis, Fr. James was also appointed Parochial Administrator of Saint Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church, serving south east Eau Claire County. From 2012-2015, Fr. James served as Pastor of Roncalli Newman Parish, serving the college students of Western Technical College and the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. In 2015, Fr. James was named Pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Menomonie, Wisconsin, which also serves St. Joseph's Grade School (3K thru 6) and the Newman Center at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. In 2017, in addition to his responsibilities to St. Joseph Parish and StoutCatholic, Fr. James was also named Pastor of St. Luke Parish in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Fr. James also teaches Introduction to Philosophy for the Diocese of La Crosse’s diaconal formation program.

In regard to his interest in astronomy, Fr. James is a member of both the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society and the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society. He taught an Introduction to Astronomy course during his time at Regis High School in Eau Claire. Fr. James' first involvement with the Vatican Observatory came when an inquiry led to the development of the first "Faith and Astronomy Workshop" (FAW), designed for parish educators and clergy that are not professional scientists.

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