We were all saddened to hear and see the damage Tuesday morning from the Memorial Day tornado that passed through the West side of Celina affecting IC parishioners and many others. From what we have learned so far, at least 30 of our IC families experienced significant damage and numerous homes were a total loss. We visited or spoke with many families and are still trying to contact others. We have offered assistance, encouraged volunteers to help with the clean-up and continue to be a support to those still trying to comprehend the loss and think about what to do next. Even while dealing with devastating losses, many of the families shared amazing stories about being spared physical harm, a community coming together to help and support one another, the kindness and generosity of so many and the power of faith and prayer. Leroy & Joann Felver’s home was a total loss, and yet a crucifix hanging on the wall by the entrance was a sign of God’s enduring protection for them even in devastation. Gerald & Lori Vian said they had four crucifixes hanging on walls in four separate rooms of the house and even though their roof was gone, walls missing and most items were strewn about, all four crucifixes were still on the walls. When Jane Rutledge heard the sirens go off, she started praying for those who may be affected. She soon realized she was praying for herself too as she heard the roar of the tornado pass over her house. Several other parishioners also described their prayers for safety and protection. Each of the parishioners we talked to reported going to the basement or a safe place in the house, and were grateful for being kept safe. When each of the families were asked what IC Church could do to help, all had the same response. They were grateful for all the help they received. They felt blest to be alive and safe, realizing that things can always be replaced. And what they needed most were our prayers. One of the first calls we received Tuesday morning was from Bishop Binzer saying that he and Archbishop Schnurr were inquiring how all were doing in Celina and assuring us of their prayers and support. The Archdiocese is responding by encouraging all 200+ parishes to take up a second collection at masses this weekend to help those affected by the storms here in Celina and around Dayton. Normally such funds collected are sent to Catholic Social Services which has the expertise to know how best to assist those in need and distribute the funds. Catholic Social Services has outreach in our local area by providing Medicaid services to the elderly and counseling at the Spiritual Center in Montezuma, but their other services are limited. To better assist those in the Celina area, we will be giving $2,000 of the funds collected here at IC to St. Vincent de Paul to help with those who may come to the Parish Office looking for assistance. Of the remaining funds collected 60% will be given to Our Home Family Resource (117 W Fayette St., Celina) and our IC staff will work with them to provide direct assistance for anyone in need in our Celina community. 40% will be sent to Catholic Social Services to help our brothers and sisters in Dayton. While many have experienced devastating losses here in Celina, we also know that the devastation and losses in Dayton are more extensive with 200+ injuries and over 500 homes, businesses and other structures heavily damaged, including three Catholic Churches. It is important to care for our own, but we also know that it is important to care for those in other places who are also hurting. Those who would like to make a financial donation to assist those affected by the Memorial Day tornados can make checks out to Immaculate Conception Church or Our Home Family Resource Center and either send or drop off at either location. Those funds will be used to provide direct assistance for anyone in need in our Celina community. If Our Home has any funds left after addressing local needs, those will be directed to other storm victims in the Dayton area. Anyone who has suffered loss and damage from tornados in the Celina Community and need additional assistance are invited to contact Our Home Family Resource Center 419-586-4663 www.ourhomefrc.com or IC Church 419-586-6648 firstname.lastname@example.org The best of our Celina community has been coming to the forefront this week and that includes many of our IC parishioners. So we thank you for all your concern, generosity and outreach and ask that we continue to offer our prayers and support for those affected by the tornado locally, those further away and all suffering from natural disasters.