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.
In the developing world, it is often hard for families to support themselves and their children. Sophie, a widow working in a village in Burkina Faso, was struggling to feed her family and pay for schooling for her children. Thanks to the help of Catholic Relief Services, one of the CRSC-supported organizations, her village was able to set up a Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC). Through the SILC, members contribute what they can afford, allowing them to pool their resources and save collectively. Members can then borrow money to meet pressing needs or develop business opportunities. Through the SILC, Sophie was able to take out a $200 loan to cover startup costs for her own canteen, a sum that would be nearly impossible for her to save. Her canteen has been very successful and began to pay off in only six months. Her community has benefited too, as she has been able to hire three assistants to work with her. Without the SILC and the work of CRS, it would have been nearly impossible for her, and others like her, to create a sustainable life for her and her family.
Persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by extremist groups such as ISIS in the Middle East has forced families to flee their homes with few possessions or resources. Through generous contributions to The Catholic Relief Services Collection, as well as the efforts of bishops to engage policy makers to protect these vulnerable families, we are providing badly-needed material and spiritual support to refugees here and abroad. A father, mother, and two sons from Iraq fled this persecution, and after living in a refugee camp in Indonesia while undergoing extensive security screening and interviews, they resettled in Massachusetts. Through support of the collection, volunteers welcomed the family, donated household items and furniture, and arranged reduced-rent housing during their transition. With ongoing support, refugees like this family find employment, learn English, and build new homes, far from the religious and political violence they faced overseas.
Helping Jesus in Disguise
In keeping with the theme "Help Jesus in Disguise," the funds collected through The Catholic Relief Services Collection support vital Catholic programs that share in the Catholic mission of promoting the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person.