Bishops call for Cartias East Africa Crisis Appeal

27/07/2011

Caritas East Africa Crisis Appeal News Story
At Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, Somali refugees wait to be processed so they can receive food rations. Following a severe drought, many families faced starvation and left Somalia on foot. Thousands of refugees are flooding into Dadaab every week. Photo by Laura Sheahen/Catholic Relief Services.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) is calling on Australians to pledge support for Caritas Australia’s East Africa Crisis Appeal, and has encouraged Parishes across the country to come together in prayer and support for the appeal this Sunday 31 July.

The Parishes of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta will hold their speical appeal in support of the Caritas effort over the following weekend, 6 and 7 August.

“Our brothers and sisters in East Africa are in the grip of a grave humanitarian crisis. As prolonged drought and extreme food insecurity threaten the lives of millions, we must be steadfast in our compassionate support,” ACBC President Archbishop Philip Wilson said.

“In the giving of alms to Caritas Australia’s East Africa Crisis Appeal, you will help Caritas alleviate human suffering in what has been described as the greatest humanitarian crisis on Earth today.

“Children are literally starving to death which is very difficult for us to comprehend. Two million children have been described as acutely malnourished and close to 11 million people in eight countries have been identified as at risk.”

For 40 years, Caritas Australia has worked on behalf of the Australian Catholic community to create development opportunities for the poorest of the poor. In East Africa the international Caritas network is already on the ground doing the vital work of providing food, water, first aid and agricultural assistance.

“The Australian Catholic Community is committed to protecting the human dignity of all those who are threatened by the drought in East Africa,” Archbishop Wilson said.

“Take with humility your next meal and never forget the millions of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers in East Africa who will consider themselves blessed if even the smallest bowl of food appears before them.

“For our brothers and sisters in East Africa, the most basic human right – food – has become an elusive luxury.”

Archbishop Wilson said as Catholics, we cannot simply stand by and allow these communities to endure such dehumanising suffering.

“As expressed by Father Pedro Arrupe SJ: ‘If there is hunger anywhere in the world, then our celebration of the Eucharist is somehow incomplete everywhere in the world’,” Archbishop Wilson said.

“Our faith in Jesus Christ leads us to follow in his example of compassion for the poor. The Australian Catholic Bishops wholeheartedly support this essential work of the Church that takes place through our International Aid and Development agency Caritas Australia.”

You can find out more and donate to the Caritas Australia East Africa Crisis Appeal by visiting www.caritas.org.au/eastafricacrisis or calling 1800 024 413.


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