Spirit Daily


Location of Archbishop Still Unknown But Niece Believes That He Was Rescued

By Michael H. Brown

It's 4:33 a.m. and I can't sleep and I worry about our friends. There is Char Vance and Mary Lou McCall and Ida and Alma and Archbishop Hannan. There is the whole staff there at one of the most interesting Catholic television shows in the country.

Update: Reportedly, he is now with Abbot Justin Brown at St. Joseph Abbey, a Benedictine monastery outside Covington and wants to get back to New Orleans to help the people.

There are all the nuns at the Ursuline convent. There is Senator Fritz Windhorst and wife Barbara. There is Bob Sawyer from Gulfport. (You left, Bob, right?) There is Dr. Steven Baker in a town nearby, a heart surgeon. There is Diane Baker, no relation, a news producer at a secular television station, last I knew.

There is Edna. There is Dave Ewell up near Baton Rouge, friend, farmer. There is Brother Bill. There are Jackie and Mimi and Heidi and the Mir people and so many others we have met through the years and for whom we care and for whom in this hellish nightmare we now fret.

Let us know how and where you are. You're okay, Archbishop Hannan?

He was especially on our minds because he did not leave and he is in his nineties. He stayed in the offices of the television show, Focus, in stricken Metaire just outside of New Orleans and also low to the sea. And he was among the missing. This is a man who still works despite his age and has had a fascinating life, friend of the Kennedys, the one who consulted JFK on Catholic matters and did the eulogy at the most famous funeral Mass in modern American history -- the one with the entire world looking on, the funeral with that riderless horse, and now his horse is also riderless for the time being.

A former auxiliary of Washington, D.C., Archbishop Hannan went on to become a household name in New Orleans and then in the Medjugorje movement as he helped to support the apparitions in the early days and even spoke during lunch with the Pope about them. The last time I saw him he was driving himself to a retreat to give the blessing and handling everything (at his age!) with no assistance.

Somehow this man who was a confidante of Jackie and a President of the United States and the most famous bishop in the modern history of New Orleans escaped the notice of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who didn't list him in a list of bishops who were accounted for and had been in harm's way.

Why wasn't he on that list?

He chose to ride out the storm on the third floor of the program's offices, according to niece Peg Hannan Laramie, who notified authorities about him and has been anxiously awaiting word. The last she heard they looked in the three-story building and found water and food but the archbishop and those with him had moved on -- somewhere.

Texas? North? Or there near the hellish Superdome? It is said the water may have bee up to the second floor.

"We were informed at Mass this morning (September 2) that Archbishop Hannah had been rescued from New Orleans very early this morning or late last night," writes Lee Mayeux from the area.

"We're confident they got out and it will be a matter of time before he calls and says he's okay. He's strong as a bull," she told me yesterday (September 2).

"I was in New Orleans for an EMT conference and was stranded by the hurricane," writes a viewer named Duane at 1:18 a.m. "We walked through the feces contaminated water to get to the Superdome. We had fifteen medics to treat 30,000 people. It was awful. I got home an hour ago..."

Where are the rest of you? Did you heed evacuation orders? Are you long gone? We can't find out. Phone lines are down to the entire state. Cell phones aren't working. It has been anarchy.

And so we wait. There are now many signs of hope. If all are okay, we now pray that they quickly recover their lives and what they need. We wait for what Peg calls the "sweet call." We wait for sweet word on our dozens of New Orleans friends. So many extraordinarily good people in New Orleans, in this place that has been a real hotspot of spiritual warfare.

Those who come out with proclamations that this is not a purification because there are good people in New Orleans miss the point. There are always innocents. There are always more innocents than evil. There are always babies. There had to have been babies in Noah's time. There had to have been babies at Nineveh, and in Jerusalem, and during the plagues of Egypt. There were elderly innocents back then, also. Some people just keep missing the point: where there is special  evil there is also special good but when the wave comes all suffer, and there are victim souls.

Where evil is, grace abounds -- and this was certainly true in New Orleans.

Will that Catholic stronghold, that place where Mary and the dragon were at special warfare, that place that was as Marian as any U.S. city, ever be a city again?

Will it be true that "thousands" died? We can only cringe at the thought. If so, it is bigger than September 11; it may be bigger anyway. In monetary terms -- which is sadly how most things are now judged -- it is already the biggest with $100 billion in damage, at last estimate. It may become bigger than even Galveston. It is very much like Galveston. There was the way the water came slowly -- but relentlessly. There were the poor people horribly stranded as that water rose. It is a place where there was also a Mardi Gras and there is the sludge that will be left behind.

But right now, there are those to be rescued. What about all those folks on the delta south of New Orleans? Must we not remain in urgent prayer? Is there anyone waiting for help with water up to his or her chin and young children?

It was a mega-storm of sorts, for sure, and it doesn't look like anyone has a really accurate read on every aspect of this storm, because the destruction in some areas indicates more than the standard category-four. Were there super-tornadoes embedded in that eastern eyewall? Along with the storm surge, is that what drilled those houses out of existence? Or was it simply the storm's startling size -- the size of a state!

This was not supposed to be a superstorm. No one knew that when it entered the Gulf of Mexico. But scientists long have warned that the Gulf is incredibly warm and that there are "warm ring cores" that can cause a storm to explode, as Katrina -- having left Florida as a relatively small hurricane -- obviously did.

A mega-storm?

A mega-heartbreak. Mega-fretting. Char and Mary Lou and Fritz and Bob and Steve and all our Gulf Coast viewers and.....

You left, right, Fritz? I remember you said you kept an axe in your attic. You didn't have to use that, did you? You fled north, didn't you? Didn't you Char? You were speaking at a conference on the 28th. You didn't return into the jaws of that monster -- right? You're ready to let us know, right, Archbishop Hannan?

[we are waiting to suggest a charity and are most moved to work for prayers; anyone in New Orleans needing assistance please contact us]

[at this writing we hear from Edna, Fritz's secretary, who informs us, "We are in Alexandria.  Trying to get organized.  We are spread all over but coping.  Have no clue as to our homes.  There is much looting and robbery going on.  Our families seem to be okay for now." Fritz is a former judge and state senator.]

[Focus is where we made the video Sent To Earth on coming disasters]

[just in from MIR Group: "For those of you who may not know, The MIR Group office and chapel is located in Jefferson Parish in Louisiana.  Yes, we are now temporarily closed because of Hurricane Katrina.  This area needs your prayers!!!  So many have lost their homes and all their possessions and the death toll is rising.  Please, please, please - Pray, pray, pray!!!  Your prayers and your sacrifices will be felt.  I've, also, have evacuated to a city in central Louisiana called Bunkie.  Praise God, I and my family are fine.  Not sure of the condition of our homes,  but we are safe.  MIR Group activities and communications will resume as soon as it is possible to return to Jefferson Parish.  News reports say that Jefferson Parish residents may be able to return to our  homes by the beginning of next week to retrieve essentials and then must leave and not return for a month (maybe).  So, say a prayer for all the workers who are attempting to bring us back to some sort of normalcy.  Pray, also, that those who are preying on the sufferings of others will stop the violence. This is my first opportunity to be able to get online in a week to communicate with you.]


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