- Candace Neff Director
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Catholic Relief Services Collection Provides International Relief
Each year on the fourth weekend of Lent, the Catholic Relief Services Collection is taken up in most dioceses across the country. In the Diocese of Gaylord, instead of a special collection, a donation is made to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on behalf of the faithful of this diocese from gifts to the annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA).
CRS supports Catholic Church organizations that carry out international relief and solidarity efforts and is an important opportunity to express Christian compassion and generosity. The theme Give Hope to Jesus in Disguise compels us to realize that everyone we meet should be viewed through the lens of them being Jesus, and treated with the same decency and reverence we afford to Him.
The funds collected by CRS support vital Catholic programs that share in the Catholic mission of promoting the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. CRS provides for humanitarian, economic, and advocacy efforts for the marginalized and impoverished worldwide.
The generosity of Catholics to CRS is critical to the work of the Church in caring for the urgent needs of our brothers and sisters around the world who are victims of war, persecution, disasters, and poverty. For over 60 years, the CRS Collection has made it possible to reach out in love and solidarity through six Catholic agencies :
- Catholic Relief Services , the official international relief and development agency of the Catholic community in the United States, assists people in 98 countries on the basis of neednot race, creed, or nationality.
- Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. , provides a full range of legal and support services to Catholic programs directly representing poor immigrants as well as advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. Its focus is on reunification of families and protection of those fleeing persecution or civil unrest.
- Migration and Refugee Services , of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), annually resettles one quarter of the refugees admitted to the United States, serves victims of human trafficking, and provides advocacy for and pastoral care to many newcomers and persons on the move.
- Justice, Peace, and Human Development. (formerly Social Development and World Peace) of the USCCB, advocates for poor and vulnerable people and for international peace and justice. It works to build the capacity of the Church to respond to global concerns such as religious freedom, poverty, and hunger.
- The Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, (SCDC) of the USCCB, has as part of its mission the evangelization and pastoral care of immigrants, migrants, refugees, and diocesan personnel who minister to various ethnic groups and migrant communities.
- The Holy Fathers Relief Fund assists victims of natural disasters and other emergencies around the world.
Programs of these six agencies include: relief and resettlement for victims of persecution, war, and natural disasters; development projects to improve living conditions for the poor; legal and support services for poor immigrants; peace and reconciliation work for people suffering from violence; and advocacy on behalf of the powerless.
The funds donated to Catholic Relief Services are used to:
- Alleviate suffering and provides assistance to people in need through the international Catholic humanitarian agency, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
- Supply outreach and pastoral care to refugees, migrants, and travelers through the USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church
- Provide assistance to victims of natural disasters and other emergencies around the world through the Holy Fathers Relief Fund
- Advocate for poor and vulnerable people and for international justice and peace through the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development
- Actively help victims of human trafficking and refugees by providing resettlement services and public policy advocacy through USCCB Department of Migration and Refugee Services (MRS)
- Provide legal services to struggling immigrants through Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
The scope and reach of the Catholic Relief Services Collection is extraordinary. Real people all over the world benefit from donations to the Collection.
- Staff on the ground in Haiti that are supported by the Collection were able begin emergency relief immediately after the devastating earthquake.
- In Afghanistan, the Collection provides vocational training for those affected by war, poverty, and drought.
- From October 1, 2007, through September 30, 2008, the Collection helped to resettle nearly 18,000 refugees in the United States.
- Since 2001, the Collection has secured more than 400 pro bono attorneys to represent asylum seekers, minors, and those facing appeals.