Bishop's Letter to be Read Sept 27th & 28th5 Minutes before Mass from Choir Area Lectern
Diocese of Palm Beach
9995 North Military Trail • P.O. Box 109650
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410-9650
(561) 775-9595 Fax (561) 775-7035
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
As you are aware, the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, continues to be of great concern for the Catholic Church as we hear of the terrible suffering of our fellow Christians and other religious minorities, who are innocent victims of violence in Iraq, Syria and Gaza. Pope Francis has called on the international community to do all that it can to prevent further systematic violence and to help those in need.
In answering that call, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has asked for prayers as well as a special collection "to provide humanitarian relief and pastoral support for our affected brothers and sisters in the Middle East." I echo that plea for prayers and I have asked each parish to take up a special collection to assist those affected.
Since January, more than 1 million people have been displaced in central Iraq as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria take control of provinces. Christians and other religious minorities have been singled out for attack. As they flee, many are stripped of their possessions at ISIS checkpoints, and many now live in vacant homes, schools, clinics and Church compounds in deteriorating conditions.
The funds collected will be used for humanitarian needs by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and other Catholic agencies working in partnership with the local Church in all affected areas. These organizations have well-established partnerships in the region that allow them to respond quickly and efficiently to victims in some of the hardest-to-reach areas.
CRS has already been helping with short-term needs. With people on the move and robbed of their belongings, many have no means to purchase the basics. With your help, CRS can provide food, water and living supplies; psychological and trauma-healing; education for displaced school children and more. CRS is also preparing for long-term resettlement for families resettling in new locations, facing the onset of winter, and needing safe shelter and a livelihood.
Archbishop Kurtz’s letter can be viewed and downloaded on our diocesan website at www.diocesepb.org , where you will also see information on the CRS Response Strategy in Iraq.
Throughout these crises, of course, the best way to assist is with our prayers.
May God bless you for your compassion and generosity in this urgent appeal.
With every prayerful wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
Bishop of Palm Beach