Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

Seeking Justice and Peace

Monday, June 27th, 2016
Catholic Relief Services and its partners host a day for religious leaders to visit and pray with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bangui, the Central African Republic on 28 May, 2014.

Catholic Relief Services and its partners host a day for religious leaders to visit and pray with internally displaced persons in Bangui, the Central African Republic. Photo by Catianne Tijerina for CRS

Dear Friend,

This month we mark the 240th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s stirring words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That passage from the Declaration of Independence shares a mutual foundation with Catholic social teaching—the dignity of mankind. Consider Pope Francis’ words on this year’s World Day of Peace: “As creatures endowed with inalienable dignity, we are related to all our brothers and sisters, for whom we are responsible and with whom we act in solidarity. Lacking this relationship, we would be less human.” (more…)

‘Laudato Si’’ Changed Minds, Encouraged Hearts

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Dear Friend,

CRS President and CEO Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo speaks at a 2015 news conference to present Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ to the world. Also pictured are Orthodox Metropolitan John of Pergamon and Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Photo courtesy of Paul Harring/CNS

CRS President and CEO Carolyn Y. Woo speaks one year ago during a news conference to present Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ to the world. Also pictured are Orthodox Metropolitan John of Pergamon and Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Photo courtesy of Paul Harring/CNS

It was on this week one year ago that Pope Francis launched Laudato Si’—his much-anticipated encyclical on the environment. At least, that’s the shorthand commonly used to describe the document. In fact, Laudato Si’ is so much more. It is really about making fundamental changes in our relationships with the gifts God gives us—especially his gift of the natural world, but also of our brethren in the family of mankind.

So much has happened since the Holy Father issued his encyclical, including the historic December meeting in Paris. Together, the United States, China and scores of other nations agreed to work to stem rising global temperatures, with richer nations pledging to help people in poorer countries suffering the consequences of environmental neglect.

We can’t say if that would that have happened without Pope Francis’ guiding hand on both our intellects and our consciences. But we can say that Laudato Si’ was a game changer.

Business, which is my background, receives much-deserved criticism in the encyclical for its role in the degradation of the environment. And I think you have seen a shift in the last year. From increasing investments in clean energy sources, to pledges to reduce energy use, many more business leaders are showing that they understand a healthy planet will also mean a healthy business. They realize that short-term thinking will lead to long-term disaster. That’s the kind of relationship change the pope calls for.

At Catholic Relief Services, our I Am Climate Change campaign has energized students on college campuses across the country, inspiring them to look at their own behaviors and speak out for others, especially by advocating with government leaders.

Aster Sisay will benefit from the REAAP project, or Resilience through Enhanced Adaptation, Action-Learning and Partnership. The CRS project is helping nearly half a million people adapt new practices and technologies to better withstand climate change. Photo by Petterik Wiggers for CRS

Aster Sisay will benefit from the REAAP project, or Resilience through Enhanced Adaptation, Action-Learning and Partnership. The CRS project is helping nearly half a million people adapt new practices and technologies to better withstand climate change. Photo by Petterik Wiggers for CRS

Around the world, we support programs that engage with the message of Laudato Si’. In a group of villages in eastern Ethiopia, we are taking a comprehensive approach to help people deal with a changing environment. As a result, these communities can better forecast changes in rain patterns. They are on the way to preserving precious topsoil and water resources so they can provide their families with proper nutrition, whatever the weather.

For people whose lives depend on what comes out of the ground, it is critical that they can manage their resources properly as they face challenges related to climate change, exacerbated this year in Ethiopia by droughts caused by El Niño.

There are some measures that can bring immediate relief, like raised-bed keyhole gardens, which can produce nutritious vegetables with very little water. But, for the most part, we know that the changes needed are not going to happen quickly. This will require commitment and perseverance. It took decades to get into this situation, and it will take decades to get out.

Across Africa, we are at work on a program called Climate Smart Agriculture that will lead to millions of farmers adapting to the new climate realities by planting better types of crops, using improved tilling techniques and taking measures to preserve water and soil.

Such work goes on in so many places in our world, whether in Central America, where rising temperatures are affecting which crops farmers can grow, or in Bangladesh, where rising sea levels threaten low-lying communities.

Pope Francis has shown us the foundation needed to build our better world. Its cornerstone is this simple thought: What kind of world do we want to leave our children? What kind of world do we want to leave the children growing up in those villages in Ethiopia?

God is so generous and bountiful. He has given us a precious gift—our natural world—that will more than take care of our needs. But we must be the stewards of this gift, cherishing and nurturing it, not exploiting it selfishly.

That is the changed relationship that Pope Francis asks of us. It will be a long road to get there, but in the last year we have been greatly encouraged along this wondrous journey.

May blessings overflow,

 

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President & CEO

Pope Francis Calls for ‘Change of Paradigm’ in Ending World Hunger

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

VATICAN CITY, October 17, 2014 (Zenit.org)

Bor County (Kondai Village - Makuach Payam), South Sudan - Beneficiaries Ayak Wal Garang, 14, and her father, Wal Garang Dhiek, 42, remove weeds from the family's groundnut field. The tools they're using and seeds for the groundnuts were provided by Catholic Relief Services. Ric Francis for CRS

Bor County (Kondai Village – Makuach Payam), South Sudan – Beneficiaries Ayak Wal Garang, 14, and her father, Wal Garang Dhiek, 42, remove weeds from the family’s groundnut field. The tools they’re using and seeds for the groundnuts were provided by Catholic Relief Services. Ric Francis for CRS

Pope Francis says that defeating world hunger will require more than aid and donations. Instead, we must “change the paradigm of aid and development policies” and change “how we understand work, economic aims and activity, food production and the protection of the environment.”

The Pope said this in a message to the director general of the FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva, to mark World Food Day, held Thursday.

World Food Day was instituted in 1979 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in order to raise public awareness and strengthen solidarity in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

(more…)

“A Great Example for Us All”

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Sean Callahan, our chief operation officer here at CRS, recently arrived in Rome for the meeting of the executive board of Caritas Internationalis.  While the meeting has long been scheduled, it coincided, it turned out, with another less expected event, the installation mass for Pope Francis.  Sean was fortunate to attend as part of the Caritas delegation and sends us this dispatch from the field, describing HIs Holiness as “an example for us all.”

Read Sean’s account.

Our prayers are with Sean and the Caritas Internationis board, and our fervent hope is that the glorious start of this Papacy can be the beginning of a shining era of solidarity with the poor, of protection and honor for the life and dignity of all.

“Our Life is a Journey, and When We Stop Moving, Things Go Wrong”
“I want to ask a favor. I want to ask you to walk together, and take care of one another.”
With those words, the newly installed Pope Francis began his papacy, challenging the faithful to be a Church of ministry and a Church of solidarity — to take up the Gospel challenge to wash each other’s feet. In that spirit, and in recognizing and celebrating the former Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio’s service to the poor and the disenfranchised, the Pontifical Mission Societies are responding in earnest. They have started a fund to offset transportation costs for poor and low-income communities in the United States and across the world. Those costs will include bus passes, train tickets, bicycles or a gallon of gas for those in need of a little help to “keep moving.”
“His Holiness continued:
“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope!”
CRS not only celebrates and supports this initiative and the shaft of light it offers, but we have joined with the Pontifical Mission Societies in the effort and will be sharing in the revenues, and so we encourage all to participate.  The CRS portion of funds raised will be directed to a program in Burkina Faso to provide bicycles to working women.  (Burkina Faso is one of the countries Catholics are supporting this year through CRS Rice Bowl.)Let’s all join with the Pope in getting people moving.  You can learn more about the campaign and donate to the fund here.
#PopeMoving