If you’ve been watching the nightly news and wondering how in the world you can possibly help amidst the rising tide of violence that seems to be running rampant, mark your calendars for September 6-7. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a special collection that will enable each of us to help with the work being done by Catholic Relief Services, Caritas, and other Catholic agencies in the region.
Over at the CRS website, you’ll find a comprehensive overview of steps being taken by the agency to aid the million plus individuals who have been displaced from Iraq due to the crisis. The short and long term needs include:
- Food, Water and Essential Living Supplies
- Psychological and Social Support, and Trauma Healing
- Education for Internally Displaced Children
- Preparation for Longer-Term Resettlement
A poignant letter from CRS staffer Kris Ozar shares a full picture of the great need in the region. In his letter, Kris shares the story of Bashar (a Caristas staffer) and his family, forced to flee their homes with nothing and now sleeping on the ground with nothing. Kris shares,
The questions I find myself asked by Bashar and families in these Church compounds is, “Where do we go? What do we do?” I tell them that there are people around the world thinking of them, praying for them, and doing what we can to help. And, I let them know that, whatever is to come, we will be with them. I feel confident saying this because of the incredible support, spirit and reach of our CRS family.
CRS is not the only agency toiling in this region, but they have provided an easy and convenient way for us to help answer Bashar’s question. When I read Kris’ words above, I want to make sure that what he told Bashar is true — that we are thinking of these families, praying for them, and doing what we can to help.
I’ll include the information about the special collection below. But please don’t wait until September to help — these families need us now. To offer an emergency donation to help in Iraq, Gaza or Syria, click here.
USCCB President, Archbishop Kurtz, Calls For A Special Collection For Victims Of Violence In The Middle EastAugust 19, 2014
WASHINGTON— Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has called on the bishops to consider taking up a special collection “to provide humanitarian relief and pastoral support for our affected brothers and sisters in the Middle East.” In an August 19 letter, he requested that the collection be held during the weekend of September 6-7 or September 13-14.
The impetus for the special appeal is a “great concern for the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity,” Archbishop Kurtz explained in the letter. “Our Church mourns the terrible suffering of Christians and other innocent victims of violence in Iraq, Syria and Gaza who are struggling to survive, protect their children and live with dignity in dire conditions.”
Money given to the collection will be disbursed for humanitarian needs by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and other Catholic agencies working in partnership with the local Church.
These organizations, Archbishop Kurtz explained, have well-established partnerships with the Catholic Church in the region that allow them to respond quickly and efficiently to victims in some of the hardest-to-reach areas. Collection funds will also support Church programs to aid persecuted Christians and for rebuilding needs of Catholic dioceses in the impacted areas.
“Our Christian brothers and sisters and other innocent victims of the violence in the Middle East urgently need the assistance of the Catholic community of the United States,” Archbishop Kurtz wrote. “Thank you for your support of this special collection and for your continued prayers for the victims of this crisis.”
More information can be found at: www.usccb.org/about/national-collections/index.cfm