In Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, and Poland, CRS is working with the local Caritas agencies to ensure that immediate needs are being met in timely and dignified ways.
Light will overcome darkness -- in Ukraine and around the world. Today, Catholic Relief Services, or CRS, the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is the light of Christ to so many people suffering from the darkness of poverty, violence, natural disasters, and injustices.
As a board member and longtime donor to CRS, I have witnessed the agency's diligent and compassionate work in Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, El Salvador, and many other countries -- and I am now writing with Shelagh O'Brien and other CRS colleagues to document our work in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
"More than 5.6 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion in late February, primarily to neighboring countries. These neighbors have demonstrated remarkable hospitality despite having limited resources to address the magnitude of the need," says CRS President and CEO Sean Callahan.
In Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, and Poland, CRS is working with the local Caritas agencies to ensure that immediate needs are being met in timely and dignified ways. These include food, clothing, transportation, shelter, cash assistance, emotional care and safe spaces for children.
"The wholesale destruction we've seen in Ukraine will call for a long-term response. As Americans, we must continue to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers mired in this tragedy while helping countries like Moldova and Poland shoulder the burden of the sudden and immense need," Callahan says.
Here in Boston, we express deep gratitude to Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, a former CRS board member himself, for calling on all parishes to contribute to a special collection in March on behalf of CRS.
"I'm heartened by the tremendous outpouring of support from Catholics in the United States and others of goodwill who continue to donate to the Church's ongoing humanitarian efforts," says Callahan. While CRS continues to focus on delivering humanitarian aid to Ukraine and its neighbors, the agency is already looking ahead to what will be needed for long-term recovery.
Since 1943, CRS has been caring for vulnerable women, children, and men, now reaching 193 million people in 116 countries with a staff of more than 7,000 and almost 2,000 partners. This work is part of the universal social mission of the Catholic Church -- and it is upheld by the enduring faith and universal human values of our Catholic identity.
To learn about CRS' humanitarian response efforts tied to the war and how you can help, visit crs.org/our-work-overseas/where-we-work/ukraine. CRS is a member of Caritas International, the worldwide network of Catholic humanitarian agencies.
PATRICIA DINNEEN IS CHAIR OF THE ARCHDIOCESAN SOCIAL JUSTICE MINISTRY AND A BOARD MEMBER OF CRS. SHELAGH O'BRIEN IS CRS REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR FOR NEW ENGLAND.