Founded in 1943 by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services assists the poor and disadvantaged outside the United States. Its threefold mission includes: 1) the alleviation of human suffering, 2) the development of peoples, and 3) the fostering of charity and justice in the world. It achieves its mission by responding to natural and human-made disasters; providing assistance to the poor to meet their immediate needs; supporting self-help programs that involve people and their communities in their own development; helping people to restore and preserve their dignity and realize their potential; collaborating with others in working toward a more just and equitable society; and helping educate the people of the U.S. to fulfill their moral responsibilities.
Updates on Disaster Relief Efforts
Please visit the Office for Social Concerns Disaster Response webpage for updates on disaster relief efforts around the world. The diocesan Office for Social Concerns Information and Response Network also sends disaster response action alerts via e-mail to those who subscribe.
Diocesan Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Office
The diocesan CRS office serves as a liaison to the national Catholic Relief Services office. In this role, the diocesan office promotes an understanding of CRS's mission and programs, including Operation Rice Bowl, Food Fast, and Work of Human Hands (fair trade crafts).
The office promotes the annual Catholic Relief Services Collection.
The diocesan CRS office also promotes advocacy efforts on issues such as world hunger, foreign aid, and international debt.
CRS Public-Policy Issues
CRS Action Alerts
CRS Rice Bowl
Catholic Relief Services' CRS Rice Bowl program draws Catholics into the unique spirit of the Lenten season. It is an opportunity for families, communities, and parishes to reflect on, pray for, and assist the poor in this country and in the developing world. For families especially, the program provides a forum for understanding the values of self-sacrifice and concern for the poor everywhere.
Most parishes distribute Rice Bowl materials on Ash Wednesday or the first Sunday of Lent. Ask your pastor or contact the diocesan Department of Social Concerns for additional materials. Using the Rice Bowl as a symbol of poverty and hunger, individuals, families, and parishes participate in the program through: Prayer, Fasting, Education, and Almsgiving. After Lent, your pastor will send your CRS Rice Bowl contribution to the diocese, which will forward it to Catholic Relief Services.
New Bulletin Announcements for 2013 CRS Rice Bowl, click here.
Food Fast is a 24-hour program that provides an international dimension to hunger and poverty issues, and places an emphasis on Catholic social teaching and Catholics' moral responsibility to the poor around the world through spiritual reflection. Food Fast includes time for prayer, reflection, and discussion in small and large groups. It also includes opportunities for involvement and action through sessions that build skills in critical thinking, communications (writing and speaking), and creative expression.
Food Fast is suitable for students in grades 8-12 and is promoted primarily with Hunger Awareness Week activities, which occur throughout the United States every November. This is also an excellent program to use during the seasons of Advent and Lent, as well as for Confirmation preparation, parish retreats, and World Food Day (in October). For more information, contact the diocesan Department of Social Concerns.
Work of Human Hands - Fair Trade Crafts
Upholding the dignity and rights of workers, Catholic Relief Services' Work of Human Hands program offers hope and self-reliance by purchasing and marketing handmade products crafted by low-income men and women around the world who struggle to support their families. You can make a difference in the lives of the poor by participating in this program. Work of Human Hands helps individuals receive a fair wage for their hard work through the promotion of more just trading relationships.