Fr. Dennis Hayes decided to take his chances and stay put as Hurricane Katrina teased the Louisiana coast, hoping the storm's Category 5 fury would spare his parish.
Ten years later the memories still linger for Carol Spruell, as if they happened yesterday but perhaps were a lifetime ago.
She remembers the chaos, despair, uncertainty and the cries for help from so many and workweeks that had no end in the days and months following Hurricane Katrina. She also remembers the lines, droves of desperate people who had lost everything in Katrina's floodwater, who were seeking any modicum of relief, whether it was articles of clothing, a bus ticket to a relative's house outside of the area or assistance in finding a place to live.
After the devastating impact of Katrina, many of the most vulnerable victims -- newborns and elderly from New Orleans -- found refuge at parishes in the diocese of Baton Rouge.
St. Patrick Church in Baton Rouge provided one of only a few shelters in the area specifically for evacuee families of newborn babies, according to volunteers there at the time.
After evacuating for Hurricane Katrina, Malcolm Ware couldn't wait to get back to his apartment at the Santa Maria del Mar Retirement Community and the shrimp awaiting him in his deep freeze.
"Somebody had given me five pounds of shrimp, which I had put in the deep freeze the night before we left," he said. "I thought, 'Boy, I hope the power doesn't go off because, when I get back, I can eat my shrimp.'"
Eco Catholic: Barely two months out from the release of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, the first glimpses of its reach have begun to materialize.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales got a roar of approval Monday when he told a packed Catholic church that he opposes new fossil fuel projects that would affect his city.
The crowd of more than 400 at St. Philip Neri Church had convened for the blessing of a totem pole that residents of Washington state's coastal Lummi Nation carved as a symbol of opposition to coal export facilities along the Columbia River.
The national association for U.S. male religious has vowed more actions than words in taking up Pope Francis' global call for protecting the planetary home, hoping their recently passed resolution will lead not only to eco-conscious changes in their own congregations, but will serve as a model for other Catholic institutions.
While calling for global carbon emissions cuts, Kenya’s National Council of Churches has launched a multifaith campaign to lobby governments, industries and multilateral agencies to agree on a binding treaty at the United Nations climate change talks in Paris later this year.
Eco Catholic: Nearly a dozen Catholic colleges and universities were included in Sierra Club's list of America’s greenest universities.
Philippine environmentalists and advocates for farmers, fishers and the poor praised "Laudato Si'" and said that, using it as a guide, they were ready to get to work.