UPDATE 11/3/12: I’ve set up a mechanism for donations to a parish food pantry near the affected areas on Staten Island, where EVERY PENNY donated (Tax-deductable!) will be used by Sr. Margaret Mary to purchase food for the victims. Click here to get the details.
We live just two blocks from New York City’s Evacuation Zone A, 1/4 mile from the ocean’s edge, and atop a steep hill. For Regina, the children and me, there was no fear of flood waters, but there was for several friends who live in the evacuation zone around the Knights of Columbus Council where I first entered the order, Manresa Council.
It’s all gone now. The Council, which faced the beach, filled to within six inches from the ceiling with water from the 14-foot tidal surge. As the floodwaters receded, the outer wall of the building burst open, the heavy steel gate over the front door twisted like tin foil.
The homes of those in the neighborhood were simply battered to rubble.
A mother seeking to escape the rising waters put her two babies in the car and drove off, only to be checked in her escape by the rapidly rising waters. She tragically opened the car and stepped out to survey an escape route when a swell swept her away. She was rescued. Her babies, swept away, have yet to be found. It’s beyond heartbreaking.
So many who died had so very much advance warning. As Paul Simon wrote over twenty years ago, “This is the age of miracles and wonders, this is the long distance call…” With satellites, radio, TV, cable, the internet…
Simon was quite right. Thanks to the miracles and wonder of technology, we all saw this coming. Most heeded the warnings. Then, tragically, there were those who did not.
As we sat with the winds blowing and prayed the rosary as a family, we prayed for those in harm’s way. In my heart, I prayed for those who didn’t heed the call to leave; who through obstinance, or hubris, or the denial that comes with overwhelming fear, would die that night.
I suppose it’s all a modern day parable; like the foolish virgins who knew the master was returning, but did not get oil for their lamps. I also suppose that those of us in the pro-life cause feel much like those political leaders, police and firefighters who begged people to see the reports for themselves and save themselves while they could.
How maddeningly frustrating it is to have outright denial hurled back by those who face certain peril.
How heartbreaking to see our words go unheeded and the resultant loss of life, men and women maimed through disease or abortion.
Are there behavioral parallels from those who would not flee Sandy, parallels from which we might glean useful knowledge?
It’s academic for now. We have thousands whose homes were totaled, just in my community. Many are brother knights, brothers in the Holy Name Society. They need immediate help as well as assistance for the long term. Many couldn’t get flood insurance, and have been completely wiped out. It’s fundraising season now. The holidays are bearing down on us as so very, very many have been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Please pray for them. Please pray for all who have been ravaged by this storm, and please give whatever support you can. This is as pro-life as it gets.
Praise God for all the lives that were spared, for those brave men and women who stand in harm’s way to save life! And we commend to him those who perished.