Bishops laud Catholic Relief Services for Philippines aid

People take shelter in a parish church in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the area. Credit: Caritas Manila.

Catholic Relief Services' chairman has affirmed the international aid agency's strength and effective representation of the bishops' conference, especially lauding its aid to the Philippines.

“I can confirm that CRS, as the overseas international aid, relief, and development arm of this conference – representing us – is strong and representing us well in the Philippines and around the world,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City said June 11 in New Orleans.

Archbishop Coakley's report to the U.S. bishops during their annual spring meeting focused on Catholic Relief Services response to last year's Typhoon Haiyan. The storm pummeled the Philippines Nov. 8, 2013, killing more than 6,000 and displacing more than 4 million.

He was introduced by conference president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who recounted their visit along with CRS staff to the Philippines to meet with local leaders shortly after the storm struck.

Archbishop Kurtz explained the joint trip was both an act of solidarity with the Filipino people, and was to “bring to the public the extraordinary recovery work that's been taking place, thanks in many ways to the wonderful generosity of people throughout the U.S., and to witness to the effective cooperation between our conference and CRS.”

He noted that typhoon recovery in the Philippines has been “assisted greatly by the tremendous generosity of the faithful,” noting that the diocese of the U.S. have given $21 million to the Typhoon Haiyan special collection.

Archbishop Coakley, who was appointed CRS chairman last November, said he is “pleased to report that CRS emergency responders were on the ground and working with the local Church – bishops, Caritas in the Philippines, religious communities – immediately after the super typhoon struck,” noting that the agency already had staff in the Philippines before the storm's landfall.

“The first delegation from CRS headquarters and our board left the USA even before our November meeting finished, and arrived within a week of the disaster. The response was immediate.”

He affirmed the CRS team on the ground in the Philippines, saying they are “living and working, as the Holy Father and our Lord would want, with the poor, in solidarity with those on the margins, peripheries.”

Archbishop Coakley called CRS' work “quite impressive,” noting that its Haiyan relief operations have targeted 60,000 households with an integrated package of emergency shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene, and household items; and that they aim to serve 100,000 households throughout a three year recovery plan, “focused on restoring communities, as well as restoring the capacity of local institutions.”

During their visit to the Philippines, he said, “we witnessed the efforts of our teams on the ground working to provide shelter, to restore water, to provide opportunities for income generation, where livelihoods have been lost; and to do this with extraordinary compassion, with extraordinary grace, and in order to give witness to the Gospel, the inspiration for all our actions.”

“We witnessed the extraordinary resilience and beautiful faith of the Filipino people … for me it was a first visit to the Philippines, and it was an extraordinary experience of a depth and quality of faith unlike any I've ever witnessed.”

He was followed by CRS' chief operating officer, Sean Callahan, who drew attention to the agency's mission of communion “in a world seemingly becoming more and more divided,” saying “we are called to be an instrument of communion and harmony, uniting the Church in this country and throughout the world with people of different communities and traditions, and calling for communion with our brothers and sisters, particularly those most in need.”

“When you think of CRS,” he told the bishops, “I hope you don't think of a separate Catholic organization; rather, I hope you think how we, all of us, are saving, protecting, and transforming 100 million lives annually.”

The bishops were then able to ask questions of Callahan and Archbishop Coakley, with Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham asking for clarification on the use and distribution of the Typhoon Haiyan Special Collection: half of it had been designated for the Filipino bishops' conference for recovery and the rebuilding of ecclesial infrastructure, and half was given to CRS for its humanitarian relief efforts.

Archbishop Coakley explained that “in a culture that is so very Catholic, the Church is the place people turn to for aid, for support, and to gather, and we recognized that because the Church plays such an important part in Filipino life, that it was very important that we dedicate some of the collection to rebuilding the churches.”

Thus, half of the collection was given to rebuilding churches “so that the life of the Church could go on there locally, and the other 50 percent went to CRS to channel our efforts there in providing… redevelopment programs, rebuilding the nation, those parts of the nation that suffered so terribly.”


Voices

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Texas

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Our nation’s ongoing failure to address the immigration crisis is a humanitarian tragedy. For more than a decade, state and local governments, Congress, the President, the courts — and now the highest court in the land — all have failed in their responsibilities to address this issue. 

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June 25, 2016

  • Saturday, June 25

    Los Angeles Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Children’s Bureau Foster Care & Adoption, 1910 Magnolia Ave., Los Angeles. Discover if you have the ability and resources to help a child in need. To RSVP or for more information, call (800) 730-3933. To request an information packet, go to: www.all4kids.org/program/foster-care.

     

    His Mercy Endures Forever, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Presented by The Sower Metanoia. Speakers: Fr. R. Tony Richard from New Orleans; Lay evangelist Jesse Romero; Fr. Ismael Robles; Sower prayer ministry leader Sandra Burroughs, Noel Diaz, founder of El Sembrador. Praise & Worship- The Sower Band. Donation $25/person (Buy 3 tix get a 4th free). Info: (877) 714-5679, Spanish (818) 700-4938. Get tickets at www.sowermetanoia.com.

     

    New Rite of Matrimony Workshop by the Archdiocesan Office for Worship, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., St. Junipero Serra, 5205 Upland Rd., Camarillo. Speakers from the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). Implementation of the new rite begins Sept. 8, 2016, and is mandated as of Dec. 30, 2016. To register, go to: www.fdlc.org.

     

    How Can This Man Give Us His Flesh to Eat?, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., St Madeleine parish, 931 East Kingsley Ave., Pomona. The many prophecies, antetypes and allusions to the Holy Eucharist and Holy Mass found in the Torah and in the Gospels--along with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A mini-retreat conducted by Tidings columnist Sean M. Wright. Register at the parish. Info: (909) 629-9495. 

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