With dismay, we watched Hurricane Maria wreak destruction on the island of Puerto Rico, part of our province, where we have two parishes and two schools. With gratitude, we have learned that the Jesuits, faculty and staff are safe. Communication from the island remains limited, so we await news on our school families and members of our parish. We will report information as we learn it.
What we do know now is that our school and parish communities need help to recover. Colegio San Ignacio, our secondary school in San Juan, received significant damage. We anticipate our families will have significant needs. Therefore, the province is accepting financial contributions to help the Jesuit parish and school communities. If you can help, please click on the the words "Donate for Hurricane Relief" below.
Colegio San Ignacio will open today for faculty and staff reflections. Students will return Wednesday, Oct. 4. See Fr. Flavio Bravo's letter to school families. (The English translation follows the Spanish original.)
Several of the Jesuits have been hard at work with axes, machetes and rakes, trying to clear branches and debris, though they still have to wait for help with the larger trees. Colegio San Ignacio is in need of significant rebuilding, and it will be some time before that can begin. Some of the teachers and staff lost their homes due to flooding.
The school staff is still trying to make contact with all of the faculty, staff and families. As far as Fr. Flavio Bravo, school president and local superior, knows now, the families are safe, but he does not know the extent of damage to homes.
The parish lost five doors and experienced water damage, but will resume liturgies this weekend.
Below is a message from Fr. Flavio Bravo, Jesuit Superior of the Puerto Rico Community, written on Tuesday, Sept. 20, as the winds and rain finally began to die down. The English translation follows the Spanish.
Al final de este día quisiera compartir la cruz que corona la capilla del Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola. Esta cruz nos recibe diariamente y es el reto que nos acerca a Cristo, especialmente al Cristo que sufre en estos momentos. Esta cruz nos invita a seguirle con generosidad y agradecimiento. Esta cruz es el estandarte que fortalece nuestra fe y hace mas noble nuestro peregrinar ignaciano.
Unidos en oración por toda nuestra comunidad ignaciana, agradecemos a nuestros hermanos y amigos ignacianos del mundo que nos han acompañado en oración y solidaridad durante el huracán María.
Pidamos especialmente por aquellos que han sufrido daños graves y han perdido todo en el huracán. Oremos especialmente por nuestro Borinquén y amado Puerto Rico.
At the end of this day (Wednesday, 9/20), I would like to share the cross that crowns the chapel of Colegio of San Ignacio de Loyola. This cross welcomes us daily, and it is the challenge that brings us closer to Christ, especially the Christ who suffers at this moment. This cross invites us to follow Him with generosity and gratitude. This cross is the standard that strengthens our faith and makes our Ignatian pilgrimage noble in the midst of suffering.
Let us remain united in prayer as we begin to rebuild and strengthen our Puerto Rico and the Ignatian community. Let us be thankful to our Ignatian brothers, sisters and friends of the world who have accompanied us in prayer and solidarity during Hurricane Maria.
Let us pray especially for those who have suffered severe damage and lost everything in the hurricane. Especially, let us lift up our Borinquén and beloved Puerto Rico in prayer.