Put Out into the Deep

Meeting Needs Around the World

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

This weekend, March 14 and 15, the Diocese of Brooklyn will take up the Catholic Relief Services Collection that funds six Catholic agencies that work to serve our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Through humanitarian aid, resettling displaced individuals and families, and providing legal and advocacy services for migrants, the Catholic Relief Services Collection allows us to see every encounter with a person who is suffering as an opportunity to help Jesus in disguise, a term coined and made popular by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Catholic Relief Services was there for the Typhoon in the Philippines and still assists in the reconstruction process.

Catholic Relief Services is present in assisting the refugees from Syria and other countries in the Middle East who flee for their lives and take with them nothing but the clothes on their backs, and whatever they can carry.

The recent appeal for assistance for the Middle East refugees netted a collection of over $145,00 as a contribution from the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens. The present collection assists not only Catholic Relief Services, but also Religious Immigration Services (RIS), a division of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), which helps members of religious communities navigate the complicated system of visa requirements and immigration laws.

In the United States, a religious community of three elderly Sisters faced declining health, which made it difficult for them to carry out the activities of the convent and to travel for doctor’s appointments. RIS advocates helped this community bring two younger Sisters from the Philippines. These new Sisters will be able to take care of the convent and help the older Sisters continue their religious service.

Catholic Relief Services and CLINIC are two of the six worldwide Catholic relief agencies funded by the Catholic Relief Services Collection. Also, Migration and Refugee Services, of which I was director for six years, assists in the direct resettlement of refugees in the United States, as well as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ policy office for international affairs assists the Bishops in developing advocacy strategies to assist the poor and the displaced of the world.

I urge your generosity in the Catholic Relief Services Collection because it gives us an opportunity during Lent to reach out to so many people in need beyond our own parishes in Brooklyn and Queens. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, continually reminds us that we must put out into the deep of the peripheries of society and the world to meet those most in need. Your generosity in this collection will be greatly appreciated.

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