Share the Journey: Week of Prayer and Action

Caritas’ global 2-year campaign promotes Pope Francis’ ‘culture of encounter’, aiming to build stronger communities. Caritas is mobilising its organisations in over 160 countries to look at the causes of migration, bust myths about migrants and to bring migrants and communities closer together.

“I invite all of you to remember who the migrants are in your families and communities. Who are the people from afar who are often right in front of our eyes, but whom we often do not see? Now is the time to see them and reach out to them. Now is the time to Share the Journey.”

Pope Francis will launch Caritas Internationalis’ global campaign on migration – ‘Share the Journey’ on Wednesday 27th September 2017 – 12.30 PM.

10.00 am – The pope will give his support to the campaign during his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.

12.30pm – Caritas will host a press meeting point* with interviewees and information. Vatican Press Office, via della Conciliazione 54, Rome.

  • Cardinal Luis Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis and the descendent of migrants himself.
  • Sister Norma Pimentel, director of Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, USA.
  • Bekele Moges, director of Caritas Ethiopia.
  • Oliviero Forti, head of Caritas Italy’s Migration Office.
  • People who are migrants and refugees.

For more information, go to Share the Journey.

Help the poor in the Caribbean with Hurricane Disaster Relief through CRS

GIVE TO HURRICANE IRMA RELIEF AND PREPARE FOR JOSE

HELP FAMILIES IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, HAITI, CUBA AND THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS

As Hurricane Irma barrelled through the Atlantic Ocean after decimating islands in the Caribbean, Catholic Relief Services is responding with pre-stocked relief supplies and a skilled emergency team headed to the worst affected areas in the Dominican RepublicHaitiCuba, and the Caribbean Islands.

Thankfully Haiti and the Dominican Republic were spared a direct hit, so we are turning our focus on the smaller Caribbean islands that have been almost completely leveled. Working closely with local government and partners, including Caritas, CRS teams are now on standby to quickly assess the needs and respond.

With total devastation in Barbuda, St. Martin and St. Barts, and with another dangerous storm on the heels of Hurricane Irma, CRS and our Caritas partners in St. Lucia and Granada are evaluating how to help with evacuations ahead of Hurricane Jose, a category 4 storm expected to barrel across those same islands.

Your gift will help provide shelter, water and critical supplies, including tarps, tents, and hygiene and kitchen kits to families affected by this oncoming disaster. If markets remain open, CRS will also make cash available to affected families so they can purchase what they need.

Your brothers and sisters urgently need your help. Your restricted donation will be used to aid the survivors of Hurricane Irma, and help us prepare for Hurricane Jose. Please donate.

From the USCCB: U.S. Bishops’ Conference Chairman Urges Senate Passage Of “Iraq And Syria Genocide Emergency Relief And Accountability Act”

WASHINGTON—Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, has urged the Senate to pass the “Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act” (H.R. 390). The proposed legislation calls for much needed assistance for survivors of genocide, especially in Iraq and Syria, and would allow faith-based organizations (such as Catholic Relief Services) that are already providing humanitarian assistance to these populations, to access U.S. government funding in their work, increasing aid to those desperately in need.

In a letter to U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Benjamin Cardin, Ranking Member, Bishop Cantú wrote, “I commend you for your efforts to support those suffering persecution in Iraq and Syria and trust that swift Senate consideration and passage of H.R. 390 will contribute to a longer-term solution to the crisis in the region.”

From Bused Halo: The Road to Emmaus, a Journey toward Hope

To read the entire post, click here.

Maybe you’ve met Thomas Awiapo, an ambassador for Catholic Relief Services from the African country of Ghana. He’s visited Catholic schools and parishes in every state, some of them twice. He has a story that sticks with you.

His parents died when he was very young. After that, he and his three siblings were left to fend for themselves in their small village in Ghana.

“If we had one meal a day,” Thomas says, “we were lucky.”

Resources for Lent – Catholic Relief Services

Encounter Lent.  We are called to build a culture of encounter.

Jesus made that clear from the way he lived, the message he preached. Pope Francis makes that clear by his own daily example. And we have a host of holy men and women who have come before us, who have gone to the margins of society so that every member of our human family might know the love of God.

Now, it’s our turn. With the spiritual pillars of Lent at our disposal, we set out on a 40-day journey, a journey of encounter with ourselves, our neighbors and our God.

  • Through prayer, we encounter Christ, present in the faces of every member of our human family, so often still walking that long road to Calvary.
  • Through fasting, we encounter our own obstacles, those things about ourselves that prevent us from loving God and neighbor.
  • Through almsgiving, we encounter our brothers and sisters around the world, asking what we can give up so that others might have life to the fullest.

Lent is our time to encounter, to cultivate a spirit of global solidarity. CRS Rice Bowl is our tool, Catholic Relief Services‘ Lenten faith-in-action program for families and faith communities, a vehicle through which the stories of communities around the world can be shared, an invitation through which our prayers and Lenten sacrifices can change lives.

Through CRS Rice Bowl, we hear stories from our brothers and sisters in need worldwide, and devote our Lenten prayers, fasting and gifts to change the lives of the poor. Each day of Lent, individuals are invited to use the Lenten Calendar—included with every CRS Rice Bowl—to guide their Lenten almsgiving. These daily almsgiving activities—for example, give 25 cents for every faucet found in your home—help families reflect on the realities of our brothers and sisters around the world and how they can be in solidarity during the Lenten season.

How will you contribute to the culture of encounter this Lent?  To learn more, click the video link below:

Prayer Resources for Students and Families

Bring prayer into your classroom in a special way this Lent. Use this 10-Minute Prayerful Introduction to kick off your Lenten season, and don’t forget to close this holy time with this Prayer Service to End Lent.

Explore these other tools for Lenten reflection, and invite your students to prayer while they learn about the realities faced by their brothers and sisters around the world.

Rice Bowl Resources for Educators. Everything your classroom needs to encounter Lent. Whether you’re an elementary school teacher, high school teacher, youth minister or catechist, you have a role in educating young people in the faith-and CRS Rice Bowl has resources to help.

Youth in Solidarity Grades 9-12.  Our Youth in Solidarity Resource — detailed below — is what you need in your classroom or youth group this Lent. The destination is up to you, but no matter where you take your class or group this Lent, your youth will have the opportunity to, as Pope Francis encourages us, encounter a brother or sister who lives a life very different from their own. Select from any of this year’s featured CRS Rice Bowl countries to download modules full of reflections, activities and exercises that will challenge youth to engage more fully in global solidarity. Ready to get started?

Youth in Solidarity Reflections

First, download this Lesson Plan Template to organize your planning. Then, download this list of Catholic social teaching principles to guide your discussion.

India: Option for the Poor The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
Zambia: Sacredness & Dignity of the Human Person The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
El Salvador: Dignity of Work The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
Mexico: Call to Community The Story Prayers & Activities The Video
Ethiopia: Care for Creation The Story Prayers & Activities
Diocese of Honolulu: Solidarity The Story Prayers & Activities The Video

Or, download all the activities here.

Wondering how to get your whole high school community involved? Here are 6 steps to integrate CRS Rice Bowl into your high school’s Lenten journey.

Additional Activities

Go further this Lent with these additional reflection resources:

  • Reflexiones para la Pastoral Juvenil Hispana: Available only in Spanish and appropriate for individuals ages 14 – 35, use this resource to accompany your ministry members through faith formation modules that offer activities, reflections on scripture and prayers.
  • Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity:>In partnership with Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), CRS is excited to offer Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity, a CD by seven Spirit & Song/OCP composers who traveled with CRS to Ghana. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD and MP3 album will support the work of CRS around the world.
  • Community Reflections: Available only in English, and appropriate for individuals ages 18 – 40, gather small faith-sharing groups to prayerfully consider how they use the season of Lent to encounter themselves, their neighbors and their God.
  • Stations of the Cross Digital Retreats: Spend 1-minute reflecting on how Jesus’ road to Calvary continues today in the daily lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Want more ways to bring global solidarity into your classroom? Check out the CRS Global High School program and our CRS Education page.

Additional Activities

Go further this Lent with these additional reflection resources:

  • Reflexiones para la Pastoral Juvenil Hispana: Available only in Spanish and appropriate for individuals ages 14 – 35, use this resource to accompany your ministry members through faith formation modules that offer activities, reflections on scripture and prayers.
  • Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity:>In partnership with Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), CRS is excited to offer Akwaaba! Songs of Peace and Solidarity, a CD by seven Spirit & Song/OCP composers who traveled with CRS to Ghana. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD and MP3 album will support the work of CRS around the world.
  • Community Reflections: Available only in English, and appropriate for individuals ages 18 – 40, gather small faith-sharing groups to prayerfully consider how they use the season of Lent to encounter themselves, their neighbors and their God.
  • Stations of the Cross Digital Retreats: Spend 1-minute reflecting on how Jesus’ road to Calvary continues today in the daily lives of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Want more ways to bring global solidarity into your classroom? Check out the CRS Global High School program and our CRS Education page.

  • Eucharistic Adoration — Food for All: Gather your community in prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament as you consider the implications of hunger on our global family.
  • Seven Sorrows of Mary: Contemplate the role Jesus’ mother, Mary, played throughout his life with these Seven Sorrow of Mary.
  • Stations of the Cross: Journey with Jesus to Calvary with these Catholic social teaching inspired Stations of the Cross.
  • Lives of the Saints: Learn from those who have come before us by reflecting on the Lives of the Saints.

And don’t forget to check out all of our videos and prepare our meatless meals with your community!

Click here to read the whole post.

CRS Rice Bowl: For Lent, For Life

2016 marks the 41st year of CRS Rice Bowl – the largest and oldest Lenten program practiced by Catholics in the United States. In 41 years, generations of Catholics have used their Lenten sacrifice to alleviate hunger caused by poverty and improve the lives of individual and families in developing countries as well as in their own communities. How they come together as communities of faith to help those in need are stories worth telling.

Collected here are resources to help you capture and tell the stories of faith in action happening in all 50 states across the U.S. Let us know if you need anything that’s not here. We can help you connect to a good local story, and find you an interview or photograph to bring your story alive.

Learn more at: http://www.crsricebowl.org/

From Catholic Relief Services: Week of January 25, 2016

BRAZIL MODELS COURAGE IN FIGHTING MODERN-DAY SLAVERY

Whether we know it or not, modern-day slavery is everywhere. It lurks in our phones, food, clothing and more.

 Like few other countries, Brazil has made a concerted effort to identify products tainted with slave labor and end modern slavery within its borders. It has actively enlisted help from businesses and publicly listed firms and farms with slave-labor connections. A list of employers that have profited from slave labor—unofficially called “the Dirty List”—has been among the tools the government has used to fight against slave labor in Brazil.Some employers have actively engaged in this campaign, but others have been reluctant to share information, fearing a consumer backlash if they are publicly associated with modern slavery.

Read more at: http://www.crs.org/stories/brazil-models-courage-fighting-modern-day-slavery

HELPING SYRIAN REFUGEES: BY THE NUMBERS

The numbers are astounding. Upwards of 11 million people have been displaced by the Syrian Civil War since it began in 2011. And that number continues to grow every day. More than half of Syrian refugees in the Middle East are children.

Syria’s neighboring countries—Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt—are reaching a breaking point, with some 4 million refugees crossing their borders. Lebanon alone has more than 1.1 million refugees, the highest number per capita in the world.

Read more at: http://www.crs.org/stories/helping-syrian-refugees-numbers

CRS FAIR TRADE: GIFTS OF LOVE

While it’s important to tell people you love them throughout the year, Valentine’s Day is a good day to do something nice for others. Giving chocolate or a small gift is a great start, but giving chocolate or a small gift with meaning is even better. You can do that with CRS Fair Trade.

The CRS Fair Trade program helps bring the core values of our faith to the choices we make as consumers. Catholic Relief Services works with several partners to share fair trade and ethically sourced products.

 Read more at: http://www.crs.org/stories/crs-fair-trade-gifts-love

Archbishop Kurtz official statement on Syrian Refugee Crisis

The full text of Archbishop Kurtz’s statement follows:

Statement of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville, KY
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
On Syrian Refugee CrisisSeptember 10, 2015

In recent days, we have seen reports about and pictures of thousands of refugees from the Middle East, primarily Syrians fleeing the conflict in their nation, fleeing into Europe in search of protection. These images have captured the world’s attention and sympathy. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked Catholics in Europe to respond to the needs of the refugees streaming into Europe and, throughout his papacy, has consistently called upon the world to protect refugees and other persons on the move.

As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I urge all Catholics in the United States and others of good will to express openness and welcome to these refugees, who are escaping desperate situations in order to survive. Regardless of their religious affiliation or national origin, these refugees are all human persons—made in the image of God, bearing inherent dignity, and deserving our respect and care and protection by law from persecution.

I express my solidarity with the Holy Father, the bishops of Syria, the Middle East, and Europe, and all people who have responded to this humanitarian crisis with charity and compassion. I also encourage the U.S. government to assist more robustly the nations of Europe and the Middle East in protecting and supporting these refugees and in helping to end this horrific conflict, so refugees may return home in safety. The Catholic Church in the United States—with nearly 100 Catholic Charities agencies and hundreds of parishes assisting refugees to this country each year, and with Catholic Relief Services providing humanitarian aid to refugees in the Middle East and Europe—stands ready to help in this effort.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph flee the terror of Herod. They are the archetype of every refugee family. Let us pray that the Holy Family watches over the thousands of refugee families in Europe and beyond at this time.

 

Donate: Help Iraqi Christians

Special Collections in Parishes

The bishops of the United States will express their solidarity with Christians and other minorities in the Middle East in the face of ongoing violence and persecution by taking up a special collection. Proceeds from the collection will support immediate humanitarian and pastoral needs, as well as the cost of long-term church reconstruction.

The collection will be taken in parishes across the United States on either the weekend of September 6-7 or the following weekend of September 13-14.

Archbishop Kurtz wrote to President Obama expressing his concern for the plight of Christians in the Middle East.


Catholic Relief Services

Known as the “cradle of civilization,” Iraq has a rich history of agriculture, writing and recordkeeping, as well as cultural development. For much of its history, however, Iraq has also been embroiled in war. Sectarian violence stemming from the U.S. invasion in 2003 has resulted in widespread destruction, displacement, trauma and poverty. More than 2 million Iraqis have left the country in fear, seeking refuge in surrounding states. Within Iraq, another 2 million people are displaced. Every month, the number rises as an estimated 60,000 Iraqis flee their homes.

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