Pope Francis asked Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich to make a pastoral visit to Puerto Rico as his personal emissary. The cardinal is also chancellor of the Chicago-based Catholic Extension Society.
A Nov. 27 announcement from the Archdiocese of Chicago said Cupich will “make a fraternal visit to Puerto Rico in the days before Christmas, as a means of drawing close to the people and their pastors as they undergo the crushing trials following the recent devastating hurricanes, Irma and Maria.
“Pope Francis has asked Cardinal Cupich to express his deep concern, as a father would have for his sons and daughters suffering in his family, and to let the people and pastors know that their situation weighs heavily on him,” it said.
Hurricane Irma hit the island 10 weeks ago and did unprecedented damage. To give some sense of where recovery stands, PBS did the following assessment as of Nov. 30:
- 66 percent of power on the island has been restored
- 93 percent of the island has access to water, but it remains on a boil advisory.
- 73 of all cell sites are up and running.
- 982 survivors remain in 41 shelters across the island.
The PBS report notes that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has received more than one million applications for assistance and approved about 251,000 as of Nov. 28. The deadline for application has been extended from Nov. 30 to March 18.
For the Crux (Nov. 30, 2017) report, click here.