Mission to help people in need around the world remains the same
WASHINGTON (December 16, 2004)—The American Bishops Overseas Appeal has been renamed the Catholic Relief Services Collection, reflecting a more focused effort to support emergency relief, human development, and peace initiatives around the world.
For 60 years, the appeal has supported the work of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as well as other social ministry agencies of the Church in the United States. The name change more clearly identifies where much of the support actually goes—that is, to Catholic Church agencies engaged in international emergency relief, refugee resettlement, legal immigration, peacemaking, pastoral care, and advocacy for a more just and peaceful world.
Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated, "As bishops of one of the most blessed nations on earth, we are so mindful of the need to help others who struggle for basic survival. Our people have always been generous through the collection, which in previous years has been called the Laetare Sunday collection, the Bishops' Welfare and Emergency Relief (BWER) collection, and most recently the American Bishops' Overseas Appeal (ABOA). By renaming it the Catholic Relief Services Collection, we recognize that CRS is our primary international relief agency, which works in close partnership with Migration and Refugee Services, Social Development and World Peace, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., all in harmony with our Holy Father. None of us can do this work individually. The three words Catholic-Relief-Services really describe what this work is all about. All Catholics can be very proud of what they accomplish by participating in this collection."
Last year, American Catholics gave nearly $15 million to help support the work of the four recipient organizations: Catholic Relief Services, Migration and Refugee Services, Social Development and World Peace, and the Holy Father's Relief Fund. Such generosity has been critical in continuing the Church's work to care for victims of natural and man-made disasters, persecution, and poverty. This year, the collection will also support the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), which provides legal assistance to poor immigrants.
The Catholic Relief Services Collection will be held nationally the weekend of March 5-6, 2005, and continues the theme of "Jesus in Disguise," reminding the faithful of the presence of Christ in each of our brothers and sisters in need.
Organizations That Benefit from the CRS Collection:
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), provides a full range of legal and support services to Catholic programs directly representing poor immigrants. Its focus is reunification of families and protection of those fleeing persecution or civil unrest. To learn more, please contact Joe Ziska at (202) 635-2556 or visit www.ClinicLegal.org.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official international humanitarian organization of the U.S. Catholic community. The Baltimore-based agency provides assistance to people in 94 countries and territories based on need, not race, creed or nationality. To learn more, please contact Brian Backe at (410) 951-7280 or visit www.CatholicRelief.org.
Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), a department of the USCCB, serves and advocates for immigrants, refugees, migrants, and people on the move through advocacy, resettlement services, and pastoral care. To learn more, please contact Jim Kuh of MRS at (202) 541-3220 or visit www.USCCB.org/mrs.
Social Development and World Peace (SDWP), a department of the USCCB, advocates on behalf of the Church for public policies which protect the poor and vulnerable and advance peace and justice throughout the world. To learn more, please contact Joan Rosenhauer at (202) 541-3381 or visit www.USCCB.org/sdwp.
The Holy Father's Relief Fund assists victims of natural disasters and emergencies worldwide.
For more information, including fact sheets about the collection, photos, homilies, etc., please visit www.usccb.org/crscollection.