Diocese Asks Parishioners for Aid to Haiti
Collection being requested in all parishes in Worcester County
January 13, 2010, WORCESTER, MA – Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, S.T.D., Bishop of Worcester, is asking pastors to take up an additional collection this weekend to assist in the disaster relief efforts in Haiti in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake which hit the country on January 12. Donations will be forwarded by the diocese to Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which has a significant presence in Haiti and administers aid directly to those most in need in times of disaster recovery and relief. Donations are also being accepted by mail to Haitian Relief, c/o Diocese of Worcester, 49 Elm Street, Worcester, MA 01609. Additionally, the diocesan website, worcesterdiocese.org, has a link available for people who wish to make immediate contributions to CRS to assist in relief efforts.
The bishop’s letter will appear in Friday’s Catholic Free Press and is as follows:
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, unleashed tremendous damage and a staggering loss of life. The death toll is significant and is expected to rise considerably as many people remain missing. Estimates of property losses in this poorest country in the Western Hemisphere will be substantial. At least three million people will be affected due to property damage and the loss of critical infrastructure.
In the immediate hours following the initial quake more than two dozen after-shocks occurred, further extending the damage. As you know, Haiti shelters a population that experiences hunger and neglect even in normal times.
Many of the survivors of this disaster have lost everything that they owned. Many remote towns and villages have been either severely or totally destroyed. Neither the Haitian government nor the people will be able to mount a substantive relief effort. The Haitian people will need a great deal of international support to rebuild their villages and their lives.
In the wake of this disaster the Diocese of Worcester is making a commitment to assist the people in Haiti. In doing so, we will collaborate with Catholic Relief Services which is our custom in responding to situations of natural disasters abroad.
I am asking all of our parishes to take a special collection for Relief in Haiti at the Lord's Day Masses this weekend. I encourage you to be generous in offering assistance to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Your generosity in responding to the needs of those who have suffered so many losses will truly help the people of Haiti at this difficult time.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The Diocese of Worcester has been assisting parishes and schools in Haiti for more than two decades and is well aware of the poverty and need that exists in the country. Bishop McManus recently traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti, accompanying a group of parish representatives from the Diocese of Worcester who met with pastors and parishioners as part of a celebration of the relationship which exists between the two dioceses. In addition to the relief efforts through CRS, the diocese’s Haitian Apostolate and twinning parishes will continue to monitor how they can assist as communications improve and the country’s situation becomes more stable.
The generosity of the parishioners in Worcester County has always been tremendous in times of disaster. In response to the Tsunami relief in Aceh, Indonesia, or hurricane Katrina relief on the Gulf Coast, more than $500,000 was collected to assist relief efforts.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Its mission is to alleviate suffering and provide assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. Its programs touch more than 100 million lives.
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