ROLLING FORK, Miss. (OSV News) — No less than 23 people have been killed after at least one powerful tornado tore through rural Mississippi the night of March 24, injuring dozens and causing widespread destruction. Emergency services were deployed to rescue victims of the destruction.
“At this time, we join in prayer for all those affected by the storms that crossed our state,” said Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson, Miss. In a March 25 statement, the bishop called on Catholics to pray for the repose of the lives lost to the tornado’s devastation, for those displaced by the storms, and “for those who are desperately trying to reach loved ones and unable to reach them.”
The National Weather Service confirmed tornado damage about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of Jackson, Mississippi. Overnight, the tornado swept northeast at 70 mph heading toward Alabama.
“The tornado had a mile-wide path, and it picked up (strength) as it moved across the lake,” Marvin Edwards, a lay ecclesial minister of Sacred Heart Parish in Winona, told OSV News. “It took the roof off my house. … I got angels protecting me evidently. I just thanked him (God). Something was protecting me.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said in a Twitter post, “Please pray for God’s hand to be over all who lost family and friends.” The governor issued March 25 a State of Emergency in all counties affected by the tornado and severe storms.
The Jackson Diocese is sending its Catholic Charities Disaster Response team to assist in recovery efforts.
(For the full OSV News story, see your local Catholic news source.)