The Miami Herald
November 3, 1998
Clergyman: `Situation is desperate'

             Leopold Frade, Episcopal bishop of Honduras, sent two e-mail letters to Florida
             friends, who made the letters available Monday to The Herald. Frade, who grew
             up in South Florida and is a devoted Miami Dolphins fan, couldn't resist including a
             prayer for the team. Combined and edited for space considerations, these are
             Frade's observations in his own words:

             Honduras doesn't exist any more and we have become a series of island states
             formed by the leftover of many cities isolated from each other by water. The only
             way to get around is by boat or helicopter.

             The hurricane was trapped in Honduras for six full days, dropping torrential rains
             that have literally washed away all of our crops, homes, businesses and churches.
             Our church building in Roatan was washed away into the sea.

             Our office building in Tegucigalpa is a two story building and the water is about 30
             feet high. The standing churches are full of refugees from the flood. . . .

             The news is appalling as bodies float in the rivers, being washed away unto the sea
             or to the next country. Many children have died or are now homeless. The girls
             from Our Little Roses have been in the Cathedral shelter for days, being asked to
             evacuate by the Fire Department. Several of our priests' homes have been
             damaged heavily and their families are in our shelters.

             We have worked almost 24 hours a day for the past week. The people of Miami
             and Homestead will know exactly what I am talking about. Unfortunately for us
             we have no FEMA, no insurance companies that will give assistance. There are no
             funds from the government able or willing to assist.

             Instead we have the power of God, and sisters and brothers that can pray for us
             and assist us. We need your help.

             There are one million people homeless, living along the roads, the stadium, schools
             and church shelters, etc. Damage is estimated over $1 billion.

             Out of our 65 churches, we have about 25 damaged or completely destroyed. Out
             of the 25,000 members we have, we know that over 3,500 are being affected.

             The situation is desperate and it will be hopeless except that God still is in control.
             As the words of Psalm 93 say: The Lord reigns! God is mightier than the sound of
             many waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea, mightier is the Lord who
             dwells on high.

             We will continue praying for you and the Dolphins. I just came back from
             inspecting what is left of my diocese. Unfortunately I do not own a boat to visit the
             rest of it. The area of San Pedro Sula is a real disaster. The central government is
             only helping the people in Tegucigalpa.

             I have been charging on my credit cards, giving checks (hopefully they won't
             bounce!) in order to buy overpriced food and water. Our church is making no
             distinction in giving aid. We don't require a specific church membership or a
             specific color of skin. You can speak Spanish, English or one of the Native

             Ninety percent of the country of 5 1/2 million people are suffering. To make things
             worse, the hydroelectric dams are being emptied because there was danger of
             them bursting. The floods are even more extensive now.

             We need help right now in the form of money. Later on, there is a lot to be done in
             reconstruction. We need your prayers for Honduras and for our church during
             these hard times. Please help us.
             Leo Frade

             Bishop of Honduras


                               Copyright © 1998 The Miami Herald