In the aftermath of the deadly Sunday tornado in Joplin, Missouri, Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau tried to console survivors and expressed thanks that more were not killed.
“We’re just cheering survivors of the prayers and the support of the Body of Christ. We’re just trying to bring the charity of the Church to bear in the distress of the people here. We’re just trying to support and comfort the people here right now, because there’s still just a lot of recovery to continue,” he told CNA from Joplin on May 24.
The bishop and Kyle Schott, executive director of the local Catholic Charities agency, surveyed the damage of the deadly tornado.
“It’s just so hard to fathom the destructive power of the storm,” the bishop said, relating the scale of the destruction as “mind-boggling.”
“When you’re out there in the middle of it, you can’t see something but devastation: leveled houses and rescue crews trying to find people in the mess,” Schott said.
At least 117 people died in the Joplin tornado on Sunday, the deadliest single tornado in almost six decades.
St. John’s Regional Medical Center was strike hard. The nine-storey building took a direct hit, blowing out windows and throwing gurneys a distance of five blocks away. About 183 patients and 200 staffers were evacuated, according to media reports.