As we continue to hear news of the fearsome winds and rains of Hurricane Irma, expected by mid-week to reach many of the Caribbean islands and then southern Florida, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, asks all people of the Archdiocese to pray for the safety of those who are in the path of this terrible storm.
The Archdiocese of Newark is home to many thousands of people who trace their roots to the Caribbean islands of Cuba, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, so the effects of Hurricane Irma will be felt not only on the people of these islands and in our southern United States, but also on people here in New Jersey. Of special importance to the Archdiocese is the fate of the nearly 32,000 inhabitants and additional thousands of visitors of the Turks & Caicos Islands, which the Vatican has placed into the spiritual care of the Archbishop of Newark.
Over the two decades that the Missio sui iuris (independent mission) of Turks & Caicos Islands has been under the care of the Archbishop of Newark, the Archdiocese has established parishes, schools and outreach centers to serve the people there, many of whom are poor and refugees from other islands. In 2008, Hurricane Gustave and Tropical Storm Hanna pummeled the people of Turks & Caicos, and caused destruction to buildings of the mission, yet the priests of the Archdiocese stationed on the islands of the mission continue to meet their spiritual and physical needs.
The Cardinal asks that all Catholics keep our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, Florida, and especially the Turks & Caicos mission in our prayers at this time, and remember them in the General Intercessions at all Masses this weekend.