DU’s Contribution Will Help Pay Rent, Utilities, Food and Clothing
When the Duquesne University community saw the aftermath of last year’s Hurricane Katrina disaster, it sprang into action. A year-long drive to aid Katrina victims ended with faculty, administration, staff, alumni and students raising more than $50,000. The contribution was recently presented to the Rev. Michel Boutot, C.S.Sp., who belongs to Duquesne University founders’ Spiritan Congregation, and serves as pastor to the hard-hit Holy Ghost Church in Uptown, New Orleans.The Rev. Naos McCool, C.S.Sp., Duquesne’s assistant dean for student formation who personally presented the check, said ecstatic parishioners formed a procession to bring the check to the altar along with the offertory gifts during a Sunday Mass.
McCool, who has visited nearby St. Jude’s parish every summer since 1973, was pleased to report signs of resurgence and revitalization. “On my previous visits, it was hurricane trash along the streets. Now, instead of broken stuff, it’s packaging for TVs and boxes for refrigerators,” McCool explained. “Blue tarpaulins on the roofs are basically a thing of the past.”
The Holy Ghost Church itself has been repaired and the elementary school serving the predominately African-American community has reopened. However, much work remains in the Holy Ghost neighborhood, and Duquesne University’s contribution will be used to help with rent assistance in a city where housing prices have skyrocketed, as well as to help cover electric bills, shelter, food and clothing. The Holy Ghost Church plans to open a new social office to field these requests for assistance. Aid will be available for all, but Holy Ghost parishioners will be served first. “Our neighborhood has been affected greatly by the hurricane, and for the Holy Ghost Church, it is important to help. So thanks be to God for the Duquesne University donation,” Boutot said.