SAGINAW - Bishop Cistone last week shared the following memo with pastors and pastoral administrators of the diocese regarding a special collection to assist drought and famine relief efforts for Somalia and Eastern Africa:
"Upon my return from Ethiopia and Kenya, I spoke of the impending consequences of the current draught and famine. A week later, the very morning I was on the Art Lewis radio show to discuss my trip, the United Nations issued a major alert and plea for assistance.
"Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which had prepared for this emergency, was already in the affected areas offering assistance. However, the needs are great. Millions of people, forced from their homes, are leaving behind what little they have. They suffer hunger, thirst, and disease. Children are dying or have been orphaned. The problem is acerbated by the fact that the Somali government has refused outside humanitarian aid. Consequently, the many Somalians have fled to refugee camps set up in Kenya. I suggest that you go to our diocesan web-site which is carrying the photos and videos from my recent trip. The graphic images tell a large part of the story.
"CRS needs our help. Our donations will literally feeds thousands and provide clean water, shelter and other life necessities. In addition to these immediate emergency needs, CRS continues to provide resources for ongoing programs and development.
"I encourage your parish to consider taking up a voluntary collection for CRS in order to support these emergency efforts. CRS has indicated that it would be helpful if the funds were sent from the diocesan finance office rather than directly from parishes. Please remit these funds as soon as possible, since timing is critical."
N.B. If your parish conducts a collection, please remit all proceeds to: Diocese of Saginaw, 5800 Weiss Street, Saginaw, MI 48603 attn: Africa Drought Response Collection. Checks should be made out to the “Diocese of Saginaw”. All proceeds will be forwarded to CRS in a timely manner.