By ZENIT Staff

Each year, a national collection that supports some of the most marginalized communities in the world is held in dioceses around the United States. Through development projects, pastoral outreach, legal support services, advocacy, and educational opportunities, the programs supported through The Catholic Relief Services Collection serve people who live in poverty and victims of persecution, war, and natural disasters. This year’s collection will be held in many dioceses the weekend of March 21-22.

Funds donated to the annual collection are provided to six Catholic groups that share in the Catholic mission of promoting the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, and Department of Migration and Refugee Services, as well as Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and the Holy Father’s Relief Fund. The USCCB’s Administrative Committee is responsible for grant-making from this national collection.

For example, young people like Zeineba, a seventh-grader in a rural village in Ethiopia, who receives tutoring and school tuition assistance through CRS. Through the support from the collection, Zeineba’s academic scores have improved, she has gained confidence, and she has lead a group of students that provide support for other girls. She not only has a bright future, but she also sets an example for her neighbors and her two younger sisters.

“Through almsgiving, we extend a hand of fraternal charity and give witness to the Risen Christ while offering hope to people who live on the margins,” said Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle, chairman of the Committee on National Collections for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Each year I am extremely grateful and encouraged by the support we receive for The Catholic Relief Services Collection. Faithful across the United States, through their donations, make a tremendous impact in the lives of our brother and sisters here at home and across the globe who are denied their basic needs including education, food, shelter, and safety.”

More information about the collection, who it supports and how the funds are distributed, can be found at www.usccb.org/catholic-relief/howtogive.

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