Lismore bishop launches flood appeal after ‘very tragic days’

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Bishop of Lismore Greg Homeming OCD has launched a fundraising appeal to meet the needs of people who have lost everything in the most devastating floods across his diocese in living memory.

Towns throughout his north-eastern NSW diocese are experiencing an unprecedented natural disaster, catastrophic in Lismore itself and extending to others such as Tweed Heads, Ballina, Casino, Woodburn and Grafton.

In a situation Lismore mayor Steve Krieg described as “diabolical” the town’s floodwaters reached more than 14 metres on 28 February, submerging homes and businesses and killing at least five people.

In a heartfelt video message to his flock, Bishop Homeming said it had been “a very tragic few days” but that he was receiving messages from all over the world from people wanting to help. To those who had “lost everything” the Bishop said that everyone across the diocese was suffering with them.

“This has all happened at a time when we were hoping that 2022 would be a year of hope, a good year,” he said.

St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, inundated by floodwaters on 28 February, 2022. Screenshot: Diocese of Lismore

“Our last 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….Now we’ve been hit again at a time when our hearts were already heavy with the many things that have happened.”

After the last major flooding event in the town in 2017, the then-recently installed bishop partnered with local businesses to provide new mattresses to anyone who needed one. This time, he said, he would again see what was people’s “main need” and address it through the diocesan appeal.

“We will begin raising what money we can and use what we’ve got to find ways to help those who’ve lost everything,” he said. “It’s not obvious yet what can be done but we will work in with those that have expertise to see what we can do.”

The resilience and strength of the people of Lismore diocese had supported the bishop through his first five years so he was “quite sure” they would again pull together he said, as he promised them his prayers and ongoing support.

“Many years later [we will] look back on this time and talk about the goodness which this terrible flood has brought out of each of us,” he said.

Bishop Homeming told The Catholic Weekly that he would ensure every dollar donated would go directly to assisting flood-affected people with their most pressing needs.

Diocese of Lismore 2022 Flood Appeal

To donate in Australia, please transfer funds to the account below:

BSB: 037-889
Account number: 1061 5829
Name: DOL Flood Appeal

To donate from other countries you can do so via PayPal here.

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: [email protected]