Catholic Faith Matters
Preaching in the
Wake of Disasters & Crises
As events unfold and anniversaries occur, sections are pinned to the top of the page. Resources include:
HOMILY PREPARATION: Preaching Today has an insightful article which gives five suggestions from pastors who have weathered fierce storms, supported by psychological and disaster mental health research. Preach 1) Hope, 2) Humbly, 3) Comfort, 4) Community, and 5) Service
PRAYER & WORSHIP: The website, The Text This Week , has many resources for Natural Disasters and Acts of Violence. You can also search Sermon Central for Natural Disasters, School Shootings, etc. Many of these resources can be adapted to various situations. Use your judgment when considering inclusion of content, however.
WHAT ABOUT THIS OR THAT TOPIC: Although for some Catholics “Political Topics” (ie., abortion, Global Warming, etc.) can be considered crises, their cause for advocacy is not the focus of this page. To get the latest on Church and politics, you can go to websites such as Catholic Vote.
Notre Dame Fire (April 15, 2019)
2022 – Three Year Anniversary
FRANCE 24 (1:43) – Three years after the devastating fire, Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris is mostly cleared of a thick layer of soot as an army of craftsmen race to meet a deadline to reopen in time for the 2024 Olympics.
Processing the Notre Dame Fire with the Eyes of Faith (Catholic Digest)
2020 – One Year Anniversary
April 11, 2020 – A Good Friday service has been held in Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, nearly a year after it was devastated by a fire. With the French capital under lockdown, only a handful of people took part in the ceremony, wearing hard hats and protective clothing because rebuilding on the cathedral is not yet complete and the interior is not entirely safe. (Al Jazeera)
2019 – In the Wake of Disaster
APRIL 16, 2019 – Father James Martin, S.J., reflects on the tragic fire at Notre Dame cathedral. Where was God in Paris? How can we find hope amid the destruction? (AMERICA – THE JESUIT REVIEW)
RELATED VIDEO (APRIL 15, 2019) – Bishop Barron Reflects on the Cathedral of Notre Dame Fire
Easter Sunday Homily (2019)
Easter Sunday (2019)
Fr. Phil Bloom – The Eucharist connects with the tragedy we witnessed on Monday – the devastation of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Perhaps you heard about Fr. Jean-Marc Fournier who bravely entered the burning cathedral. He did it to rescue the relics of Jesus and the saints such as St. Louis. But much more important, to rescue the Blessed Sacrament – the bread which is Jesus’ Body. For us the Eucharist has greater value even than Notre Dame Cathedral.
Remember Bishop Barron saying that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we priests may as well go home and get honest jobs. We could say something similar about the Notre Dame Cathedral. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, Notre Dame is just one more museum…
What happened on Monday – Monday of Holy Week – I take as a sign. Like the fire disfigured Notre Dame cathedral, just so sin has disfigured our church – especially hideous sins of abuse of children by men consecrated to God. These sins have devastated our church. But I can say this, we will rebuild. In the bulletin I have something about our efforts to guarantee protection of every child in our care. Because of egregious abuse cases and cover-ups (mainly in a disgraceful thirty year time period) we have lost trust. We want to regain it, not for our glory but because of Jesus.
September 11 Attacks (2001)
2021 – Twenty Year Anniversary
SEPTEMBER 11, 2021 – What September 11 Teaches Us About Death and Resurrection: Twenty years after the attacks of September 11, Fr. James Martin reflects on the importance of memory and why the death and resurrection of Jesus can teach us something about that tragic day in U.S. history. (America Magazine – The Jesuit Review)
Article by Fr. Ralph Martin
RELATED VIDEO (2:04): Pope St. John Paul II’s Reaction to 9/11 (EWTN)
2018 – Seventeenth Year Anniversary
SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 – What is the Significance of the Date of Sept. 11? It’s Mores Than You Think… Hear Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, explain the significance of 9/11 and what we need to know about that specific date.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2021 – It has been two decades since the skies over Arlington were clouded by black smoke.The terrorist attack on the Pentagon 20 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, profoundly impacted the Arlington diocese in many ways. In this video, priests and parishioners of the diocese talk about their experiences on 9/11, and about spiritual growth in the two decades since. (Catholic Diocese of Arlington)
AUGUST 15, 2021 / 2018
VOX – Why does God let bad things happen to good people? It’s a question that faith leaders have to answer before their congregations every day. But for clergy members in California, who have spent the past few weeks watching devastation wrought by a series of wildfires that have killed 77 people, left up to 1,000 missing, and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, it’s one that hits particularly close to home. How do you explain the devastation wrought by a wildfire within the context of faith? And how do you frame that explanation in a way that allows victims to verbalize and come to terms with their own grief and, sometimes, anger? For clergy in affected areas of California, wrestling with the problem of evil is part of the job description.
Florida Building Collapse (June 24, 2021)
JULY 7, 2021
A Christian Reaction to the Collapse
BEN COURSON -Today, Ben gives his perspective on tragic building collapse in Surfside Florida and what he believes Satan has to do with it. Ben Courson is a bestselling author, TV and radio personality, international speaker, founder of Hope Generation, and the senior pastor at Applegate Christian Fellowship. Ben’s ministry is shouting about the God of Hope to help people rise out of despair.
JUNE 30, 2021 – Florida Pastor Says to Keep Praying for Those Families in His Parish Affected by Condo Collapse (CURRENTS NEWS) – The closest Catholic Church to the scene of the Florida condo collapse is St. Joseph’s parish in Miami. Currents News reported that 10 families from the church are among those missing. Father Juan Sosa, pastor at St. Joseph’s in Miami, joined Currents News to discuss how the parishioners at his parish are coping after such devastating news and how they are all keeping the faith. (Currents News)
ARCHDIOCESE OF MIAMI (June 29, 2021)— Father Juan Sosa says believers must see God at work behind the tragedy. He wrote this June 29 because, he explained, “Writing usually helps me out and releases my thoughts and feelings.”
Covid-19 Pandemic (November 17, 2019 – Present)
APRIL 2, 2020
BISHOP BARRON – The coronavirus and other catastrophes are but dramatic examples of a general truth about the nature of things, a truth that we all know in our bones but that we choose, typically, to cover up or overlook.
Paul Maxwell, Ph.D. (March 16, 2020) – Preaching during COVID-19 Coronavirus, Use these 7 sermon writing prompts to shepherd your church through crisis.
Clergy Sexual Abuse
MARCH 2, 2020
When Church Leaders Fail
Just recently, Catholics were devastated to learn of another case of sexual abuse, this time involving Jean Vanier, the esteemed founder of L’Arche and a man once considered to be a living saint. Vanier, who passed away last year, was accused of sexually assaulting six women in France, using his religious position to abuse and manipulate them. How do we make sense of all this? How can a man who produced enormous good fruit fail so abysmally? And how should Catholics respond to this sort of abuse, and prevent it from happening again? Bishop Barron offers advice on all these questions and more.
Why Remain Catholic? (With So Much Scandal) by Bishop Barron
Why Join a Church Full of Scandals (Catholic Home Network)