At the heart of every Catholic education, and one of the things that distinguishes it from that of a non-faith-based one, is our focus on community service. This is because service is an integral part of the Catholic Identity and is woven into all areas of the curriculum.
Bishop Robert N. Lynch, former Board Chair of Catholic Relief Services, explains, “We don’t do things because you’re a Catholic, but we do things in the world because we’re Catholic. It’s a part of our religious DNA.”
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official international humanitarian relief agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It was established in 1943 with the intention of helping Europe and its refugees after the war. Today, based on the concept of Integral Human Development (IHD), which CRS defines as: “the sustained growth that everyone has the right to enjoy and represents an individual’s cultural, physical, natural, economic, political, social, and spiritual wholeness,” the agency works worldwide with the less fortunate to improve living conditions, provide health care, aid in emergency response and recovery, educate, and advocate for policies and practices that protect human rights and dignity.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, CRS Board Chair, 2013–present, breaks down the CRS mission of “Faith. Action. Results”:
If CRS leads by faith, it’s our faith that inspires us. It’s also our faith that holds us accountable. It’s our faith that calls us to action. Faith has to be lived out, and CRS provides us an opportunity to put our faith into action.
In the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) is responsible for promoting the annual CRS collection, educating parishes about the work of CRS, and managing CRS programs, such as CRS Rice Bowl and Fair Trade. To learn more about how you can become involved in the Catholic Relief Services, contact your local parish. To stay connected to the ways CRS is internationally honoring its commitment and to participate in the conversation, follow the agency on its social media platforms.
Pope Francis reminds us: “We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love.”
CRS helps turn that responsibility into results.
How can you get in on the action?