Video message to the people of the Northern Rivers from the Bishop of Lismore, Most Rev Greg Homeming regarding the floods
As you all know we here in Lismore and indeed in the Diocese of Lismore have had a very tragic few days. So much of the Diocese is flooded. You’ve probably seen on television how extensive the flooding of our city has been. Even I as the Bishop was evacuated by boat at the peak of the flooding. So much is underwater. So many houses have been destroyed. We’ve seen our people waiting on the roofs of houses for hours upon hours waiting to be rescued. This has all happened at a time when we were hoping that 2022 would be a year of hope, a good year.
Our first flood in Lismore was in 2017 and I don’t know that we’ve really as a community recovered from that flood. COVID hit. Fires hit and we’ve been in I suppose a state of hope looking to the future. Where’s it going? And now we’ve been hit again at a time when our hearts were already heavy with the many things that have happened. I even as Bishop don’t know what can we do. We all feel absolutely helpless. In many ways, I suppose, some of us feel that God hasn’t been with us. We feel overwhelmed and that’s coming from me.
Yesterday, I was at one of the evacuation centres and I saw the people there and these people have lost everything that they have; helpless, despairing. No doubt there will also be mental health issues coming up. This is where we are at the moment and the first thing that I want to say is everybody in Lismore suffers with those who have lost everything – in fact everyone in the Diocese because I’ve received messages from everywhere, even around the world. They are with us; they wish they could help. So, in that sense, we are not alone. The only problem is we don’t know where to go; how to get out of this.
As the church even, we’ve lost so much. So much of what we’ve got is underwater. That severely limits what we can do but we will begin raising what money we can and use what we’ve got to find ways to help those who’ve lost everything. It’s not obvious yet what can be done but we will work with those that have expertise to see what we can do. The last flood, we simply gave mattresses in the Diocese; now there are too many mattresses for me to be able to replace and I don’t know that that’s the main need. Food, care of people, the reinstatement of hope, of trust. This is our task and we are in it together as the people of Lismore, the people of Lismore Diocese.
I can say that everyone is in this together, everyone is helpless but we will do our best to make sure we come out of this. Having been here for five years, I know that Lismore people are resilient and strong. That has supported me for five years and I’m quite sure that together we will come out of this horrible spot and perhaps one day, many years later look back on this time and talk about the goodness which this terrible flood has brought out of each of us.
I offer you my prayers, ongoing support and let’s work together in the future.
Most Reverend Gregory Homeming OCD
Sixth Bishop of Lismore
The Diocese of Lismore has launched its 2022 Flood Appeal. To donate in Australia, please transfer funds to the account below:
A/c No: 1061 5829
Name: DOL Flood Appeal
To donate from other countries please use this PayPal link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=DDS9CFAWSPLYN&fbclid=IwAR2RjC8nxK8se_nXFi1OXS0CC_9d_DoJtelEnOToMu8dX1lcPs-BWoYVqCM. This link can also be used within Australia.
Please note that donations to the Diocese of Lismore Flood Appeal are NOT tax deductible.
For enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also donate to the St Vincent de Paul Flood Appeal or The Australian Red Cross’ Queensland and NSW Floods Appeal.
With thanks to the Catholic Diocese of Lismore.