Six communities of La Sagrada Familia, the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s sister parish in the Dominican Republic, were unreachable on Monday, Oct. 29, after Hurricane Sandy left the water level in the river between the communities too high to cross.

sandyWater covers streets in Sabana Yegua, Dominican Republic, following Hurricane Sandy’s wrath. Fr. Marti Colom, pastor of La Sagrada Familia, the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s sister parish in Azua in the Dominican Republic, wrote in an email to the archdiocese Monday, Oct. 29 that the parish is still in the process of evaluating damages caused by Hurricane Sandy to the 22 towns and villages that form the parish. (Submitted photo courtesy Fr. Marti Colom)Fr. Marti Colom, pastor of La Sagrada Familia Parish in Azua, Dominican Republic, sent an email to the archdiocese with information and photos showing the state of some of the streets in Sabana Yegua.

“There has been a lot of damage also in the fields, and people will hurt because of that,” he wrote, noting that Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, who made his first visit to the parish Thursday, Oct. 18 through Monday, Oct. 22, missed by one day what Catholic News Service described as “one of the worst storms to hit the Caribbean in years.”

Fr. Colom said the parish is collecting mattresses, clothes, food and mosquito nets.

“At some point we will begin to think about rebuilding some houses,” wrote Fr. Colom, a member of the Community of St. Paul, which has been serving the parish since 2003. “So far, we are trying to work in coordination with the local authorities and with the diocese here.”

Monday, Oct. 29, was the first day that the parish could reach some of the other communities that had been cut off from them since Tuesday, Oct. 23, according to Fr. Juan Manuel Camacho, member of the Community of St. Paul appointed associate pastor of the parish shortly after being

How to help

Contribute to La Sagrada Familia, the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s sister parish in Azua, Dominican Republic, and its relief efforts, through World Mission Ministries by calling (414) 758-2281 or visiting

Two reputable Catholic organizations providing disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy are: Catholic Charities USA, P.O. Box 17066
Baltimore, MD 21297-1066, (800) 919-9338 or
National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul 58 Progress Parkway, Maryland Heights, MO 63043-3706,
Designate your donation as
“domestic disaster relief.”

ordained a priest for the Milwaukee Archdiocese in May.

Community of St. Paul Fr. Ricardo Martin Pinillos, part-time pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Racine, who also serves as vice chancellor and defender of the bond for the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, planned to stay a few days longer than the visit made by Archbishop Listecki and his chief of staff, Jerry Topczewski.

His arrival home was delayed until after midnight on Sunday, Oct. 28 because the road connecting the southeastern part of the country with its capital, Santa Domingo, was washed out, and his flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee was delayed, he wrote in an email to your Catholic Herald.

Fr. Pinillos said public works personnel in the Dominican Republic were waiting for the rain to cease and water to recede to repair the road.

“Traffic to the capital resumed on Saturday afternoon,” he wrote. “I drove back on Sunday with no delays.”

Fr. Pinillos wrote in his email that the priests visited several of the communities to see how the people were doing, while he was there.

“Not much can be done at this point,” wrote Fr. Pinillos, who translated Masses celebrated by Archbishop Listecki during the prelate’s trip. “Some of the communities are isolated. People have lost a lot but we do not have news on any loss of life.”