Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Reflection on Suffering in Sudan

This week is the feast day of Mary Magdalene. Present at the Crucifixion and the first to see the risen Lord, Mary Magdalene surely understood the full range of human experience in a most profound way.

Working for CRS for 22 years has given me a taste of both the cruelty humans inflict on each other and the generosity and love with which they can respond. Listening to a briefing recently on the potential for increased strife in the Sudan reminded me of my own trip there in 1990. I was nearly killed when a plane bombed the small town I was visiting. Thirteen innocent women and children did not survive. I know Mary Magdalene would have known what it was like for these people.

Eighteen years later, the innocent still suffer and die in the Sudan. Yet, CRS staff, from around the world and from Sudan itself, continue to risk their lives to help their fellow human beings. And, millions of Americans support CRS’ work, and with the urging of Catholics and others our government funds it as well.

As I work with my colleagues at the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference to urge members of Congress and their staff to provide more funding for poverty-focused international assistance, I remember the Sudan and many other places where I’ve been. And today, I think of Mary Magdalene and the fulfillment of God’s love she was the first to see.

– Bill O’Keefe, senior director, Advocacy, CRS

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