Special U.S. collection urged to help those suffering in Middle East

By The Compass | September 5, 2014

GREEN BAY – Bishop David Ricken announced Aug. 28 that parishes in the Diocese of Green Bay will participate in a special collection for humanitarian needs and pastoral support for Christians and other victims of violence in the Middle East.

People displaced by violence sit outside St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Ankawa, Iraq, Aug. 14. A typical day for many Iraqi Christians encamped at Ankawa, near Irbil, would probably involve another round of struggle against desperation, frustration, anxiety, boredom and fear. (CNS photo | courtesy Aid to the Church in Need-USA)
People displaced by violence sit outside St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Ankawa, Iraq, Aug. 14. A typical day for many Iraqi Christians encamped at Ankawa, near Irbil, would probably involve another round of struggle against desperation, frustration, anxiety, boredom and fear. (CNS photo | courtesy Aid to the Church in Need-USA)

Parishes are encouraged to take up the collection the weekend of Sept. 6-7 or Sept. 13-14. According to Cindi Brawner, executive director of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay, Inc., funds collected at the parish should be sent to the Catholic Foundation using the standard remittance form designated for Middle East Collection. Parishioners should make their checks payable to the parish and memo for Middle East Collection, she added, and online donations can also be made at: www.catholicfoundationgb.org/give.

The Middle East collection was announced Aug. 19 by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Emphasizing “the extraordinary nature of this crisis,” Archbishop Kurtz, urged the bishops to support the appeal.

“Our Christian brothers and sisters and other innocent victims of the violence in the Middle East urgently need the assistance of the Catholic community of the United States,” Archbishop Kurtz said.

Funds from the collection will be used by Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development organization, and other Catholic agencies “working in partnership with the local church” to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of people in the three countries, he said in a letter to his fellow bishops.

The agencies also will use the money to help refugees who have fled Iraq, Syria and Gaza to neighboring countries.

CRS and other agencies “have well-established partnerships with the Catholic Church in the region which allow them to respond quickly and efficiently to victims in some of the hardest to reach areas,” he explained.

Catholic News Service contributed to this report.

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