This is a March 6 pastoral letter of Rockhampton Bishop Michael McCarthy in the wake of Cyclone Marcia
My Dear People,
On Friday, February 20, our diocese was impacted by Tropical Cyclone Marcia. The cyclone caused a great deal of damage to property and had a significant impact on the delivery of essential services.
I am aware that many in our communities were traumatised by the cyclone while others have suffered loss and damage and are experiencing hardship.
As it was the first cyclone I have experienced, I can certainly attest to it being an extremely unsettling time.
As the cyclone passed over Rockhampton, from my window at home, I watched trees being blown down the street and heard what people often refer to as the “roaring sound of the wind” which accompanies cyclones.
Thankfully ABC radio broadcaster Jacquie Mackay provided the lifeline during hours of wild winds, rain and uncertainty.
Without power and water for days, I watched heroic people assisting others in need to clean up houses, streets, school buildings and churches.
As the Capricorn Coast, Rockhampton and surrounding districts slowly return to normal, I am sure that you would agree with me that we could not have achieved the wonderful recovery efforts without the assistance of many organisations and people.
To mention a few I extend thanks to the SES, emergency services, Ergon and all contractors who assisted in the restoration of power, the councils of Rockhampton, Livingstone, Gladstone and Banana, the police, ambulance and Army and their personnel, along with the many generous volunteers.
What a tremendous effort was made to assist us to get our lives back to normal.
My heartfelt appreciation is extended to all who have helped the Catholic and wider communities of the diocese to get back on their feet.
Behind the scenes here at the Bishop’s House precinct, the respective staff of the Catholic Education Office, Centacare and Financial Services have done a tremendous job to ensure that our schools, Centacare services and parishes continued as best they could, to serve and minister to our diocesan family during this challenging time.
I have had personal contact from many people outside the diocese offering their prayerful and practical assistance, for which I am most grateful.
If you are aware of anyone in our diocesan family who has experienced hardship because of Cyclone Marcia and is in need of some additional assistance, please let me know through your parish priest, Centacare or our Catholic Education Office.
To our parish communities of Rockhampton, Capricorn Coast, Gladstone, Biloela, Monto and districts who have suffered damage, I pray that your lives will get back to normal soon and that you sense the prayerful support of all in our diocese for you at this difficult time.
Please be assured of my prayers for all who have been impacted by this natural disaster.