“Many of you volunteered to comfort and assist those most affected by the flooding,” the archbishop told parishioners during his homily at the Aug. 13 vigil Mass at St. Paul, located a stone’s throw uphill from the devastation. “So please accept my warmest thanks for your neighborly kindness, which is also a wonderful example of the Gospel hospitality.”
The archbishop asked the congregation to remember in the day’s Mass “those who died and those who still suffer, even as we ask God’s blessings on efforts to rebuild those parts of town that suffered the heaviest damage.”
Archbishop Lori concelebrated with Conventual Franciscan Father Michael Heine, director of the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, with assistance from Deacon Joseph Knepper of St. Paul. Father Warren Tanghe, pastor of St. Paul, was on retreat.
With everyone preoccupied with water, Archbishop Lori crafted his homily around the fire of the Holy Spirit, which he said “enkindles in our hearts a genuine zeal for the Gospel – a burning desire to share the good news of Jesus with others.”
Though many of the parishioners were not directly affected by the flooding, they expressed concern for those who were.
“It’s sad,” said lector Joseph Gagliardi.
His wife, Diane Gagliardi, noted that one of her fellow singers has a son who had been a chef at one of the destroyed restaurants.
“He already has another job,” she said, though she added that another acquaintance owns one of the restaurants.
He called the flood “surreal, in a sense.”
“It always happens to somebody else, and now it has happened to us,” he said.
Parishioner Chris Hennigan said that there has been “a real eagerness to help the community.”
Deacon Knepper emphasized the importance of prayer.