PORTLAND — On the weekend of March 18-19, Maine Catholics will help suffering people around the world by giving to the Catholic Relief Services Collection, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and held in dioceses across the country.
The Catholic Relief Services Collection supports Catholic Church organizations that carry out international relief and solidarity efforts. Programs 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. Persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by extremist groups in the Middle East has forced families to flee their homes with few possessions or resources. Funds from the collection provide material and spiritual support to refugees here and abroad.
The collection also funds programs of several other ministries, including the Catholic Legal Immigration Network; the Holy Father’s Relief Fund; the USCCB’s Department of Migration and Refugee Services for refugee resettlement; the Department of International Justice and Peace, which advocates for the rights and protection of suffering people worldwide; and the USCCB’s Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, for evangelization and ministry among immigrants and itinerant communities in the United States. Gifts from the last collection helped resettle more than 75,000 Afghan refugees in the United States, funded an International Freedom Summit that brought human rights advocates from all over the world to Washington, D.C., trained South Sudanese refugees at a camp in Uganda as leaders who assist all camp residents regardless of ethnicity and improve communications between camp residents and aid agencies, and met many other great needs.
For more information about the collection, visit www.usccb.org/national-collection/catholic-relief-services-collection.