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An Easter Sermon on Recovering from Katrina

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An Easter Sermon on Recovering from Katrina

Katrina & Beyond

An Easter Sermon on Recovering from Katrina

An Easter Sermon on Recovering from Katrina

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Mississippi coastal town of Bay St. Louis has been undergoing a renewal since Hurricane Katrina flooded the town last fall. With the faithful celebrating Passover and Easter this week, Madeleine Brand speaks to the Rev. Sebastian Myladiyil of St. Rose de Lima Parish about how his sermon this Sunday will address the town's physical and spiritual reconstruction.


It's springtime. Also Passover this week and Easter on Sunday, high holidays that celebrate renewal and hope, familiar themes to the people of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. They have been rebuilding their town since Hurricane Katrina put almost all of it under water.

Joining us now from Bay Saint Louis is Reverend Sebastian Myladiyil, of St. Rose de Lima Church, to talk about what he will say to his Catholic congregation on Easter Sunday.

And welcome to the program.

Reverend SEBASTIAN MYLADIYIL (Pastor, St. Rose de Lima Church): Thank you.

BRAND: Tell me a little bit about your church.

Rev. MYLADIYIL: St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church was established in 1926 to cater to the sacramental needs for the African-Americans. Now, the church has become a very multi-racial congregation, welcoming all people. And we have about 425 families at this time. Since the storm, we did experience some wind damage. But one of the big blessing was that we did not have any flood damage. And so, immediately after Katrina, we were able to get back to our feet and minister to the needs of the people.

BRAND: And what will you say this Sunday? What will you tell your 425 families?

Rev. MYLADIYIL: Katrina almost brought an end of the familiar world for our people down here. Looking around, all that they could see was destruction, death. All that they could see was uncertainty. So, just as the Resurrection brought in new hope and new life, we are also seeing now new hope and new life, that God is capable of transforming the apparent triumph of evil into something good. And that we are witnessing that Resurrection in our lives at this time every day, due to the fact that so many people of goodwill, so many groups; church groups; civic groups; schools; colleges; all reaching out to us and for us. That is a sign of God's act of love, God's goodness. And there, we witness resurrection.

BRAND: You talked about the evil of Katrina. Do you believe that was evil; the hurricane?

Rev. MYLADIYIL: I mean, anything that leads to destruction, we can categorically say it does evil. Okay? Not necessarily evil in terms of phenomenon of good as against evil.

BRAND: What do you say to someone who comes to you? A congregant who comes to you, who has lost everything, and who hasn't yet been able yet to move into a new home, or rebuild his or her old home; and who is devastated, and who has difficulty being optimistic and finding hope? What do you say to that person?

Rev. MYLADIYIL: We found that in the beginning, all the more, at first people were all in their desperate stage. Now, having seen the final hope and having experienced, you know, goodness happening around us. All these, of course, individual situations are different. But in talking to them, we'll see what is the utmost need that they are faced with. What is it that actually weigh them down? And in what way can we connect them to the groups that are around us in the church, or people who are able to give them the strength in the form of counseling, and so on and so forth. And we help them, you know, realize in themselves, a sense of hope, a sense of optimism.

BRAND: Reverend Sebastian Myladiyil is the pastor of the St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. He spoke to us from the church.

Thanks you very much, and happy Easter.

Rev. MYLADIYIL: Happy Easter to you, too.

(Soundbite of gospel choir)

BRAND: And this is a recording of the gospel choir from the St. Rose de Lima Church. Thanks to our colleague Noah Adams.

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