Clearing-up goes on while fear remains
AMASS for victims of the recent flood catastrophe in England's Eastern counties was celebrated by Bishop Parker of Northampton in his cathedral on Wednesday.
Speaking to THE CATHOLIC HERALD this week, the Bishop said that it was still impossible to assess the amount of damage done to church property.
Bishop Parker added: "We have been fortunate. No churches have been wrecked, and few people have lost their lives.
"But the fear of the new high tides at the week-end remains. 'I hat is why at the special Mass for flood victims we placed our people under the protection of Our Lady."
In the other three affected dioceses -Nottingham, Southwark and Brentwood-no reliable estimate of damage to church property is yet available.
Priests in hard-hit Mablethoi pe, Harwich, Canvey Island and Abbey Wood (Woolwich) were still busy this week helping parishioners who suffered, and clearing up their own houses, churches or halls in the wake of the floodwaters.
A Catholic mother, Mrs. Joan Ballard, and her four-year-old son. Robin, were drowned at Southwold, Suffolk, when the sea broke in and destroyed their house.
The mother's body was found on the Sunday morning, but the boy's not until the following Thursday afternoon. The Mayor and Town Clerk attended a Requiem Mass on Saturday. February 7, and mother and child were buried together.
At the Requiem Mass for flood victims at Westminster Cathedral Mgr. Hubert Gibney, the Vicar General, represented Bishop Cowderoy, who was touring some of the flood areas in the Southwark diocese.
Nine mattresses, last used during the Portsmouth blitz. were among articles sent from Winchester presbytery to help flood victims.
The parish priest of Felixstowe, Fr. Cyril N. Benham, has contacted all his people, Between 30 and 40 families have suffered in the flooding, and three have lost their entire homes.
Bishop Beck of Brentwood celebrated Pontifical Mass in the Cathedral, Brentwood, on Wednesday, the Feast of Our Lady Lourdes, principal patron of the diocese, for those who were bereaved by loss in the floods, and in thanksgiving for protection given to the parishes and people during their ordeal.