The pastor and faithful of St. Basil the Great Church in Metairie, Louisiana could not believe all the blessings that His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph brought to them in less than 24 hours. The community is still recovering from Hurricane Ida. Nevertheless, Sayidna Joseph wanted to bring God’s comfort and mercy to the parish, as well as resources to assist in recovery efforts.
No obstacle would stop him. Not a single hotel was available within a 50-mile radius. So, early on the morning of Sunday, September 19, 2021, His Eminence left the Archdiocesan Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey, boarded a plane and flew nonstop to New Orleans to celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at St. Basil Church, where V. Rev. Peter Nugent and the entire community enthusiastically received him.
The church itself suffered no damage from the hurricane earlier this month, but the church hall is in need of roof and other repairs. Sadly, four homes of parishioners were destroyed and most others suffered some sort of damage – all the more reason His Eminence Joseph wanted to be with them.
Following the liturgy, His Eminence presented the community with a check for $10,000 from the Archdiocese to assist in overall recovery efforts. He promised a second contribution from the donations their sister churches collected in His Eminence Joseph’s appeal. St. Basil Church was most grateful.
His Eminence praised Fr. Peter as a kind, committed, caring and engaging pastor, recalling their first meeting five years ago when Sayidna Joseph visited New Orleans for the Orthodox Young Professionals Conference. He called the parish council gracious and the choir beautiful—not in need of a single correction.
That afternoon, His Eminence boarded another airplane and arrived home at the Archdiocesan Headquarters late Sunday night.