Tennessee Catholics, Community Step Up for Tornado Victims

Tags: Currents Faith, Inspiration, Nashville Tornado, Tennessee

By Emily Drooby

For now, Patrick Patton is celebrating Mass from his church’s pews, but one day he hopes to be able to celebrate from the alter.

“I play firefighters, police man and priestess,” said Patrick as he described how he likes to pretend he’s a priest while at home. The four-year-old even has dreams where he’s a priest.

When Patrick found out that his beloved Church of the Assumption in Nashville Tennessee was damaged by a tornado, he wanted to help. The child donated his hard-earned chore money to the recovery effort.

“So, our church gets fixed,” Patrick explained.

His mother, Melissa Patton explained it’s not the first time Patrick has generously offered his own money up to the church.

“One day before Mass, a gentleman sitting behind us gave him five dollars and he chose to give it into the offering,” said Melissa.

Patrick story is cute but, in the days following the storm, it has become the new normal.

Over 22,000 people from all over came to Nashville to help.

The executive director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Judy Orr said, “We had armies of people out helping in addition to professional first responders, that’s a really remarkable thing to see.”

In her job Judy sees volunteerism every day, and even she was impressed by the amount of people who came out to help.

“Nashville is great like I said, it’s awesome that everybody wants to pitch in. Nobody’s got a lot of free time, but it’s awesome to see the community come together and help out during the time of need,” said Seth Hauenstein.

Seth is just one of the many students from nearby Belmont University who spent the first few days of their spring break doing manual labor to help clean up Nashville.

Now, Tennessee living up to its name: the Volunteer State.