“God loves these people. He gives them hope when they wake up each day.” A Catholic Relief Services (CRS) staff person in Kenya spoke these words to me when I visited Kenya in September 2011. Anyone who has encountered people who are poor or suffering in some way knows the truth of this statement, and, like me, has been amazed by the capacity of humans to hope against great odds. As Catholics, we are called to remain always hopeful and faithful, and to work together to keep hope alive in this world by helping our brothers and sisters in need wherever they may be. One way that our Church in the United States does this is through the work of Catholic Relief Services.
CRS is the official international development and humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community, alleviating suffering and providing assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries on five continents, without regard to race, religion or nationality. Through CRS, the Catholic community in the United States saves lives, addresses the root causes and effects of poverty, promotes the sacredness and dignity of human life, and helps build more just and peaceful communities.
In Kenya, like in every country in which CRS works, CRS partners with the local Catholic Church and other organizations that share its vision in order to implement projects and programs that improve people’s lives, programs like emergency response, HIV/AIDS, health, agriculture, education, microfinance, and peacebuilding.
However, none of this life-giving work would be possible without the support of Catholics in the United States, who reach out in hope and faith to our brothers and sisters overseas. CRS also works in the United States to provide opportunities for Catholic individuals, parishes, and dioceses to live that faith and hope in solidarity with the poor and make decisions as consumers, voters, and advocates to promote more just and peaceful societies.
One way that you can get involved in the work of CRS is to join Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a nationwide advocacy initiative of CRS and the USCCB that invites Catholics to take action on issues of global poverty. Just like the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference invites you to put your faith into action by advocating on issues of concern to Catholics locally, Catholics Confront Global Poverty provides the opportunity to complement those efforts on a global scale. We invite you to join us by signing up for Catholics Confront Global Poverty, and also by learning about other opportunities to pray, learn, act, and give through CRS. Together, we can share the love and hope of God throughout the world.
By Cheryl Mrazik
Catholic Relief Services, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
5 Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 501
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087
Photo Credits – Kim Pozniak/Catholic Relief Services, Jim Stipe/Catholic Relief Services