puerto rico

GUEST VIEWPOINT | Despite Maria’s devastation, Puerto Ricans celebrate God’s gifts

Have you ever given thought to how you would build a community from scratch? What would you build? How would you design it? What would be the important parts of this community? Would there be things in your life that you wouldn't incorporate into the new community? Think about your responses.

Students from De Smet draw inspiration from the people they serve in Puerto Rico

Joseph Baxendale of De Smet Jesuit High School cleaned water remaining in a home in Punta Santiago, Puerto Rico, on a service trip to the island territory devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria more than two months ago.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, eight students and two faculty from De Smet Jesuit High School arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a one-week service trip looking like "a great American gang walking in and everyone knew that we meant business," as senior Hunter Schoenig described it.

Hurricane Maria exposes poverty in Puerto Rico

Margarita Rodriguez held a flashlight and quizzed her 11-year-old daughter, Isel Martinez, about homework Oct. 25 outside their home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Much of Puerto Rico remains without power and water nearly two months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island Sept. 20.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria did more than catastrophic physical damage when they struck Puerto Rico back-to-back in September, crippling the U.S. territory's power grid and infrastructure.

"The hurricanes basically blew off the top of all the poverty on the island," said Father Flavio Bravo, SJ, the superior of the island's Jesuit community and president of the Jesuit high school, Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, in San Juan. Puerto Rico is in the Jesuit's Central and Southern Province, which is based in St. Louis.

Catholic organizations, groups actively working on Puerto Rico’s recovery

Father Carlos Francis Mendez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Las Marias, Puerto Rico, delivered aid with parishioners’ help to a remote area outside the town Oct. 24. It was the first aid residents of the poor area had received at their homes more than one month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

QUEBRADILLAS, Puerto Rico — A month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Catholic organizations, groups and individuals were still among the most prominent responders to the needs of a suffering people.

Despite early logistical obstacles, as of Oct. 20, the local Caritas chapter had disbursed over $1.1 million in aid to an estimated 50,000 people — including food, clothing, first aid supplies, potable water and sundries. At its San Juan office, hot lunches also were being distributed daily to members of the community.

A week after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico begs for help

Displaced people filled containers with water Sept. 26 in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Much of Puerto Rico remains without communication and electricity and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

WASHINGTON — More than a week after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, much of the island remained without communication and in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

News programs tell of long lines of travelers, who have little food or water, and are desperate to get off the island at the San Juan airport to no avail.

But the scene of destruction outside the airport is even more stark: An island whose dense tropical landscape, along with its infrastructure, towns and cities, has been greatly stripped by winds that reached 155 mph.

Agencies organize efforts for relief in Puerto Rico

The Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province in St. Louis is accepting financial contributions to help two Jesuit parish and school communities in Puerto Rico hit hard by Hurricane Maria.

"Our school and parish communities need help to recover," a post on the province website reported. "Colegio San Ignacio, our secondary school in San Juan, received significant damage. We anticipate our families will have significant needs."

The Jesuits, faculty and staff are safe but communication from the island remained limited.

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