WASHINGTON (February 2, 1998) — The bishops of the United States have a long tradition of reaching out to the needy around the world. They are proud of Catholics who have made generous contributions to support these efforts. This year's collection for the American Bishops' Overseas Appeal is scheduled for March 22nd in most dioceses. The bishops are hoping to surpass the $12.6 million received last year from Catholics around the country.
The theme "Planting the Seeds of Hope" reflects the spirit of support by the Catholic community in the United States. With the funds collected through the appeal, Catholics provide meals, teach classes, furnish agricultural equipment, care for the sick, build wells, extend relief, offer development loans, and aid refugees. The support offered to people throughout the world gives them the tools to live a life of dignity. Catholics in the United States plant the seeds through their contributions, and God ensures the harvest.
The American Bishops' Overseas Appeal supports four official Catholic entities that have been doing good work for many years:
- Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS works on behalf of the American Catholic community to change the lives of millions of poor in more than 80 countries. By providing emergency relief, supporting community self-help projects, and fostering justice, CRS offers opportunities for people who have no political voice, no economic power, and no social status.
- Migration and Refugee Services. One-quarter of all refugees admitted to the United States each year are resettled with the help of Migration and Refugee Services. Most funds from this collection that go to MRS support the pastoral care of newcomers to our country, which involves helping them get settled and feel a part of the parish family.
- The Holy Father's Relief Fund assists victims of natural disasters and other emergencies around the globe.
- The Department of Social Development and World Peace of the United States Catholic Conference applies Catholic social teaching to current issues, including human rights, justice, and the search for peace.
The bishops remind Catholics that through this appeal, they can make a difference in the world.