CRS collection reaches vulnerable

The annual Catholic Relief Services (CRS) collection during Masses on March 25-26 provides an opportunity to live this year’s theme, "Help Jesus in Disguise," an archdiocesan official told the Catholic Voice.

"The Lord is in those people" seeking assistance, said Omar Gutierrez, manager of the Office of Missions and Justice, referring to the Gospel of Matthew’s account of finding Christ in those in need. "This is part of the revelation he gives us. It’s not just, ‘in my name,’ but ‘doing it to me.’"

Last year, people in the archdiocese gave $120,864 to the collection for CRS, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ overseas humanitarian aid agency.

The money is distributed to six Catholic Church organizations that help families suffering from war, famine, extreme poverty and natural disasters. The agencies also help victims of human trafficking, provide social justice advocacy and legal and support services for poor immigrants and assist in refugee resettlement.

The agencies are Catholic Relief Services; Migration and Refugee Services; Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.; Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development; Holy Father’s Relief Fund; and Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church.

The collection helps the needy in many areas far from the United States, Gutierrez said. But everyone is a brother and sister in Christ, and the distance can be part of the "disguise" in which those in need often appear, he said.

"We’ve been called to serve those people in disguise in every part of the world," Gutierrez said. "They are our brothers and sisters, even if they are far from us."

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