Following the devastating tornado that tore through Nashville March 3, Bishop J. Mark Spalding of Nashville reported that one parish experienced significant damage — Assumption Church, located in downtown Nashville.
Initial surveys indicate an EF-3 tornado with winds up to 165 miles per hour ripped through portions of East Nashville. At least 24 people have died and dozens of buildings have been destroyed.
“We are fortunate in so much as we have been able to determine thus far, the employees of the diocese, our parishes and schools have escaped harm and for this we are grateful,” said a statement from the Nashville Diocese. “We are assessing building damage at the Church of the Assumption, Holy Name, St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Rosary as well as other parishes that are in the path of the storm.”
Bishop Spalding, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, said that Catholic Charities of Tennessee will help to coordinate relief efforts within the community.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz sent the following message to priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville March 4.
“I contacted Bishop Mark Spalding yesterday to check on him and the people of Nashville in light of the terrible loss of life and damage due to yesterday’s tornado,” he said.
Bishop Spalding thanked him for reaching out and told him, “Our Catholic Charities will be handling community assistance. If the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville are so inclined, they can go on our website to give —prayer is so appreciated!”
The archbishop also shared Bishop Spalding’s prayer in the wake of the tragedy:
“Loving God, be with all those who are suffering in the aftermath of this violent storm. Grant peace to those who have died and comfort and strength to those who grieve them. May those who have suffered damages or lost homes and possessions find support in our brothers and sisters in Christ and consolation in the knowledge of your presence. Guard and guide first responders and aid workers, protect those who are most vulnerable, and keep us all safe in your unending love.
We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, whom even the winds and the sea obey. Amen.”
Nashville’s Catholic Charities agency was in the process March 4 of contacting parishes to assess needs that they and their people may have.
“Once this information is gathered, we will share a further update and offer ways in which we may all work together to offer support,” the diocese said.
Donations can be made at www.dioceseofnashville.com.