Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rain, Rain . . .

Wednesday greetings from a very busy home office. No time to really blog now; the day has slipped by. But I did want to post two news briefs I just read on the same page of Catholic News Service's web site:

Drought, heat making Midwest corn farmers pray for rain

SEYMOUR, Ill. (CNS) -- The desperation of drought-stricken farmers in the Midwest was evidenced by what topped Mary Margaret O'Connor's "day's best memory" list as the July 8 celebration of her parish church's centennial came to a close. "It looks like we're going to get rain," said O'Connor, eyeing dark clouds approaching the grounds of St. Boniface Church, where a tent had been erected for a parish luncheon. Prayers to keep rain away from an outdoor parish celebration months in the planning and including a visit from the diocesan bishop would usually be the norm. But not this summer at St. Boniface Church, a Catholic landmark rising above the fertile corn and bean fields of western Champaign County. As in much of the Midwest, farmers in Seymour are on the edge of disaster from scorching heat and lack of rain. "Hopefully, it will come," Father Robert Lampitt, parochial vicar of the rural parish, said of the rain before leading the meal blessing. "It would be a godsend," agreed Bill Klein, a fourth-generation farmer whose great uncle willed the rural parish an 80-acre tract of land upon his death in 1954. The field north of the church is planted in soybeans this year. Klein, O'Connor and other farmers of St. Boniface Parish compared the current drought to one in 1988. The region is 10 inches or more below normal rainfall for the year. What rain comes now may already be too late for some corn crops but would be greatly benefit soybeans.

Irish bishop appeals for prayers for a break in the rain

DUBLIN (CNS) -- An Irish bishop has appealed to parishioners to pray for a break in the rain. Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns asked local churches to offer prayers for farming families struggling under a severe loss of income due to the weather conditions. The Irish Farmers' Association warned that farm families across the country have been hit by a loss of 100 million euros due to higher feed costs and a loss of output as a result of the poor weather conditions. Bishop Brennan said many farming families in the area are "experiencing real strain and anxiety as they grapple with the prospect of a continuation of the current poor spell and its threatened adverse effects on the annual harvest." He also expressed the fear that the poor weather could hinder the wider national economic recovery. Bishop Brennan said many parishes in his diocese have received requests for prayers for fine weather. "In truth, they range from the very heartfelt of the farming community to those of parents whose children are looking to get outdoors and enjoy the best of the summer holidays," he told Catholic News Service. "Our real thoughts and prayers are with the farming community at this time. I am very conscious of the vital role it plays in our society and our economy. This persistently poor weather is a real threat to crops and livelihoods -- and it now spells extra animal feed costs," Bishop Brennan said. While summers in Ireland are generally damp, this year has proved to be particularly wet. Nine inches of rain -- nearly three times the average -- fell in the month of June. June had only 93 hours of sunshine, scarcely half of the monthly average. It was the wettest June since records began in 1910.

What a world!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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