PORTLAND — Bishop Robert P. Deeley has authorized a special collection at all of Maine’s Catholic churches Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 and 15, to provide aid and support to victims of Hurricane Dorian as well as other natural disasters that could occur this year, according to a news release from Dave Guthro, communications director, Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine.

Hurricane Dorian intensified before making landfall in the Bahamas where it battered the island for nearly 40 hours, leaving catastrophic damage in its path with at least 20 deaths recorded and thousands of homes and buildings destroyed, according to the release.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian is a harsh reminder that hurricane season has begun. This special collection will allow the Diocese of Portland to respond to the immediate, emergency needs and long-term recovery of many who are suffering,” said Deeley, according to the release.

The Diocese of Portland has had a special relationship with the Diocese of Nassau in the Bahamas for nearly 40 years since the Second Vatican Council called faithful Catholics to be “missionary.” This relationship included a mission in the Bahamas that was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy of Portland.

“Our diocese has a long history of meeting humanitarian challenges and providing hope to those facing circumstances of great need,” said Deeley, according to the release. “I ask that we come together and offer our prayers, compassion, and generosity to support the thousands of individuals and families affected by this destructive storm.”

Following the collection, financial assistance will be provided by the Diocese of Portland to Archbishop Patrick C. Pinder, archbishop of Nassau, Bahamas, to help with the recovery efforts throughout his diocese.

Those who wish to offer assistance prior to the special collection on Sept. 14-15, Catholic Relief Services, along with local partners, are working to assess immediate needs in the Bahamas and organizing food, emergency shelter, and safe water for affected families.

To make a donation, visit support.crs.org or call 1-877-HELP-CRS.

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