General Custodian, Father Mike Barth, S.T., shares news from his recent trip to missions in Humacao and Loiza:
Last week, I took the opportunity to visit our men and missions in Puerto Rico. I found them all physically well and grateful for the emotional, spiritual and financial support they have received since Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Island.
Although much has been done to clean debris and trees from roads and buildings, the damage is significant. Everywhere blue tarps cover missing or damaged roofs. Electricity is still out and from the look of things in many areas, especially Humacao, will be a long time coming! Cell service and internet are difficult to find and unreliable. At night the sound and smell of generators fill the air and nostrils. And, without the generators access to water would be non-existent. FEMA is present but, at least out in the areas where we serve, there does not seem to be a strong or vibrant Federal presence.
Frs. Rocendo Herrera and Victor Santiago took me around to visit some of the hardest hit areas in Loíza. Pictured here is a roof replaced by an alumnus and dear friend, Paul Kinkus and his son Matthew in Loíza. Paul and Matt replaced several other roofs on homes of sick and elderly who had no other resources.
Near Humacao, the area of Punta Santiago was severely hit. Many homes were lost and power poles and lines stand as they did the day after Maria. The people are strong and determined to stay and restore their communities. Our presence and the presence of the Church is evident and promising.
Please keep our men and missions as well as the people of Puerto Rico in your prayers. The recovery will be long, the need for resources constant, and support vital. Give today!