Thursday, April 21, 2011

Catholic Relief Services, Almsgiving, and Lent

Almsgiving, along with fasting and prayer, are part of the Lenten season ("The Lenten Season," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The last I heard, there's no shortage of worthy causes - and con artists disguised as worthy causes, which is another topic.

Lent, 2011, is just about over. Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday/Holy Thursday, and after that is Good Friday, followed by an egg-laying rabbit and that is definitely another topic.

The point of this post is that - no pressure, mind you - I think Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is a pretty good outfit to consider. I've mentioned CRS before: they're "the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops." ("Where We Serve," That's an accurate statement, as far as I've been able to tell - but please do your own research.

As for how CRS got started, and what they do, they've got a pretty good writeup on their 'about' page:
"Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, we have expanded in size to reach more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries on five continents.

"Watch what happens when little miracles touch the lives of the most vulnerable people around the world. Witness the lifesaving help and hope provided by Catholic Relief Services. Take a look at just how far your heart can reach.

"Our mission is to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic Social Teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. Although our mission is rooted in the Catholic faith, our operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. Within the United States, CRS engages Catholics to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and suffering of the world. ..."
("About Catholic Relief Services,"
That phrase, "impoverished and disadvantaged people," got my attention. I've written about how CRS is helping folks in northwestern Japan - and Japan isn't the place I'd normally think of as having "impoverished and disadvantaged people."

On the other hand, "disadvantaged" means "marked by deprivation especially of the necessities of life or healthful environmental influences." (Princeton's WordNet) With towns and cities knocked flat by a record-setting earthquake and tsunami, and a slightly-melted nuclear power plant: I think "disadvantaged" might fit the (temporary, I trust) circumstances of folks in Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki Prefectures - and anywhere else that was affected. (see "The damages caused by the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake and Actions taken by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (March 23)," MAFF/農林水産省)

Somewhat-related posts:
Link list of my posts about the March 11, 2011 earthquake and related topics:Catholic Relief Services (CRS) online:

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.