|Catholic leaders urge prayers for victims of Colorado flash floods|
Catholic News Service photo
Mobile homes lie flooded in a town in Weld County, Colo., Sept. 17. Search-and-rescue teams bolstered by National Guard troops fanned out across Colorado's flood-stricken landscape, as a week of torrential rains blamed for at least eight deaths and the d estruction of at least 1,600 homes.
Catholic News ServiceCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As much of the rest of Colorado scrambled to stay out of the path of raging floodwaters, residents of beleaguered Manitou Springs and other small mountain towns along the Highway 24 corridor gave thanks that, for now anyway, they were out of harm's way.
"We're all good," a woman at the parish office of Our Lady of the Woods in Woodland Park, said Sept. 13 to The Colorado Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Colorado Springs Diocese.
Heavy rains fell across much of Colorado's Front Range for several days, and more rain -- from 6 to 10 inches-- was expected to fall through the Sept. 14-15 weekend, according to a forecast by the National Weather Service.
Areas scarred by forest fires -- both in the Colorado Springs area and in northern Colorado -- were particularly vulnerable to flooding.
In Colorado's northern counties, which make up the Denver Archdiocese, widespread flooding forced the evacuation of thousands of people, namely in the cities of Boulder, Lyons and Lafayette.
Public officials closed schools, including the University of Colorado in Boulder. Rushing water made roads throughout the region impassable. Law enforcement officials confirmed at least three people died in the flood waters.
Residents of canyons in the foothills west of Denver were being warned about the risk of more flash floods.
Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said in a Sept. 12 statement he was praying for all those affected by extensive flooding in northern Colorado and urged all people of good will to join him in prayer. He said was "praying for the souls" of those who had died and for their families.
He said the archdiocesan Catholic Charities agency was prepared to help storm victims.
In the Colorado Springs, Mark Rohlena, CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, said that in that diocese the agency was "helping victims of all the recent flooding on a case-by-case basis. We have mainly been focused on material support for those who have sustained damage or loss."
Bishop Michael J. Sheridan said in a Sept. 13 statement: "We thank God that no serious injuries or destruction of property have been reported in our diocese. We continue to pray for the safety of all the people in northern Colorado."
In early August, parts of Manitou Springs -- which relies heavily on tourism to support local businesses -- had been devastated by mudslides created when heavy rains fell over the burn scar from last year's Waldo Canyon fire. One month later, parishes closer to downtown Colorado Springs were the ones feeling the heaviest impact of from flooding.
Offices at St. Mary Cathedral in downtown Colorado Springs sustained serious water damage, the diocese reported Sept. 13.
At St. Paul Church on the southwest side of Colorado Springs, the parochial school was closed Sept. 13 because it was without phone or Internet service. The parish rectory was also "soaked," said a member of the office staff.