In his message for Lent 2015, Pope Francis also focused on the need for fraternal charity. He stated that “…we can help by acts of charity, reaching out to both those near and far through the Church’s many charitable organizations. Lent is a favorable time for showing this concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the human family.” He said, “Every Christian community is called to go out of itself and to be engaged in the life of the greater society of which it is a part, especially with the poor and those who are far away. The Church is missionary by her very nature; she is not self-enclosed but sent out to every nation and people.” He has called Lent a time of renewal and a time of grace. Such a time can be enhanced by acts of charity.
As a way to reflect this missionary spirit embraced by Pope Francis, our bishops have asked us to support the work of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS carries out the commitment of the bishops to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our bishops state that CRS is a “manifestation of love for our brothers and sisters around the globe by the Catholic community of the United States.” It promotes chastity in marriage, natural family planning, and is motivated by the “Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching.” It seeks to “protect, defend and advance human life around the world by directly meeting basic needs and advocating social justice.” It also promotes human development by responding to major emergencies and fighting disease and poverty.
This weekend the Archdiocese of Atlanta is sponsoring a second collection to support the work of CRS which is the official international relief and development agency of the Catholic community in the United States. It reaches out to those in need with innovative solutions to problems such as poverty, hunger, drought, disease, and emergencies. It works closely with the Catholic Church around the world. Ninety two percent of its expenditures go directly to programs that benefit the poor in developing countries.
As part of our call to almsgiving, we are invited to prayerfully consider supporting this worthy organization as we continue on our Lenten journey of faith.