Amid a winter storm that brought freezing temperatures and widespread power outages to much of Texas, Catholics are stepping up to help their neighbors even while dealing with their own shortages of electricity and water.
Unseasonably cold temperatures in most of Texas— including record lows in cities like San Antonio and Corpus Christi— along with snow and ice have this week crippled much of the state and have caused widespread water problems and power outages.
Nearly 3.5 million people in Texas were without electricity as of Wednesday morning, with many outages expected to continue into at least Thursday.
Catholic churches in several Texas dioceses, including San Antonio and Fort Worth, have opened their doors to serve as warming shelters.
In the archdiocese of San Antonio, which covers part of south-central Texas, at least six churches are open to provide emergency shelter despite some continuing to suffer from their own electrical and water problems.
Spokesman Jordan McMurrough told CNA that these churches are currently open to provide shelter during the day as of Wednesday: St. Pius X Church at 3303 Urban Crest, St. Patrick’s Church at 1114 Willow St, and Blessed Sacrament Church at 600 Oblate in San Antonio; and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at 13715 Riggs Road in Helotes, Texas.
Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church at 1214 Stonewall St. in San Antonio also is open but is experiencing water problems and has no bathroom access, McMurrough said. Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 2114 W Houston St. in San Antonio is open overnight if needed.
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller has dispensed Catholics in his diocese from their obligation of Ash Wednesday fasting and abstinence due to the difficult conditions created by the storm.
In Fort Worth, Bishop Michael Olson announced that All Saints Catholic Church on the north side of the city is serving as a warming center.
Several of the state’s Catholic Charities agencies, including Catholic Charities Dallas, have had to shut down except for critical services because of road conditions or other factors.
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