Tag Archives: CRS

Rosemount pastor: Ease Nepal’s suffering with CRS donation

May 12, 2015

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Nepalese military personnel remove debris in Kathmandu, Nepal, in search for survivors after an earthquake struck May 12. The magnitude-7.3 quake hit a remote mountainous region of Nepal that day, killing at least 19 people, triggering landslides and top pling buildings less than three weeks after the country was hit by its worst quake in decades. CNS photo

Nepalese military personnel remove debris in Kathmandu, Nepal, in search for survivors after an earthquake struck May 12. The magnitude-7.3 quake hit a remote mountainous region of Nepal that day, killing at least 19 people, triggering landslides and top pling buildings less than three weeks after the country was hit by its worst quake in decades. CNS photo

Editor’s Note: Father Paul Jarvis shared the following with parishioners of Christ the King in Minneapolis after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal April 25,  prior to another major earthquake hitting the nation May 12. Father Jarvis is pastor of St. Joseph in Rosemount, but is transitioning to a new assignment as pastor of Christ the King, beginning July 1.

At the Request of Archbishop John Nienstedt, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is taking a special collection to fund Catholic Relief Service’s work in Nepal May 16-17.

Twenty-five years ago, I was studying Tibetan culture, religion and language in Kathmandu Nepal. I met some wonderful people who were of Newari, Sherpa, Tamang, Nepali and Tibetan background. They were truly as beautiful and cultured as the country they inhabit.

Back in the early 90s, Nepal ranked among the world’s poorest. Since then, they have suffered greatly with the killing of the entire royal family by the crown prince, a long-lasting civil war, the civil war’s mass migration of war refugees into the capital — and the overcrowding that comes from such migration. The new democratic republic seems to be just as inept as the monarchy before it.

And then came the recent devastating earthquake!

Matters went from terrible to catastrophic. Not mentioned in the news reports you’ve seen is the extent of damage to the cultural centers that have been a significant draw for tourists. Will tourists come in the future?  How will trekkers trek without trails?  Without quaint villages and their temples and lodges?

One of the many things we Catholic Christians can take pride in is the Catholic Relief Service (CRS). When I was a seminarian CRS Fellow in Cambodia (2003), I saw first-hand how CRS works with local populations in solving local problems with local ways and local wisdom. CRS is not your typical international aid program that foists Western solutions upon people in developing countries.  CRS believes that the best solutions come from the people being assisted.  This is truly unusual aid thinking.

CRS also has an extremely low administrative overhead. Again, this is because they focus on hiring talent from within a country, and not well-paid Westerners.

Lastly, CRS is known to be “the first in with food.” No aid agency gets food to those in desperate need faster. CRS enjoys utmost respect from its fellow aid agencies.

Our diocese is supporting CRS in its aid efforts in Nepal. All parishes have been asked to take a second collection for Nepal aid relief, which will be used by CRS to bring food relief to remote areas of Nepal in addition to the capital.

I have communicated with all my friends in Nepal — they’ve survived the earthquake, thank God, and have joined others in a collective national response to the crisis.  They tell me that as bad as it is in the capital, it is far, far worse in the remote areas.  Entire villages have been destroyed, and there are no roads for them to get to centers of assistance. CRS and other agencies will have to helicopter the aid in.  And this will be very expensive.

I know I am biased. I consider Kathmandu to be one of my home-away-from-homes. And I admit to my past association with CRS.

On the other hand, this connection may be of benefit in my plea. I’ve heard directly of the devastation from friends through Facebook, and the catastrophe is real. I can also vouch for CRS.

Please be generous. I have heard that CTK parishioners are very generous with their charity.  I hope you will be with this dire situation in Nepal.

You can do your own research on CRS here: http://www.CRS.org. Try googling “Catholic Relief Service” and “Catholic Spirit.”

Namaste (Nepali) and Tuchenang (Tibetan),
Father Paul

With local collection already planned for Nepal, second earthquake boosts need

Help Earthquake Survivors in Nepal and India

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What’s causing the drought in East Africa?

July 26, 2011

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A woman holds her baby outside a tent serving as a medical clinic established by the African Union peacekeeping operation in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 16. (CNS photo/Stuart Price U.N. handout photo via Reuters)

The drought in East Africa is reportedly the region’s worst in six decades, and it threatens the lives of millions of people with food shortages. Thousands are fleeing Somalia to seek food in Kenya and Ethiopia, according to Catholic Relief Services, which is responding to the disaster.

But what is causing this severe drought and the looming threat of famine?

Rains that normally fall from October to December in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia failed to arrive last year. This year, spring rains were less than adequate, according to CRS, and many areas have now missed two growing seasons. Consequently, food prices are rising beyond affordability.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of California in Santa Barbara believe that the trend of decreasing precipitation will continue and that it’s linked to global warming.

According to a press release earlier this year from the USGS:

“As the globe has warmed over the last century, the Indian Ocean has warmed especially fast. The resulting warmer air and increased humidity over the Indian Ocean produce more frequent rainfall in that region. The air then rises, loses its moisture during rainfall, and then flows westward and descends over Africa, causing drought conditions in Ethiopia and Kenya.”

These scientists concluded, after examining the region’s weather and climate data, that most of that warming is the result of greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions from human activities.

The situation in East Africa is one example of how climate change is negatively impacting world populations. And it is the world’s poor who are paying the heaviest price.

The long-term solution is to work to reduce greenhouse emissions. But, right now, what’s most needed is a generous response to the needs of those immediately affected by the drought and food shortages. You can help by making a contribution to CRS to help its efforts in East Africa.

And prayers are always needed for the hungry, for those working to assist them and for the future, which remains uncertain.

According to CRS:

“What will happen next is weather dependent. If the fall rains appear on schedule, they will be a great help, although we still must ensure that farmers have seeds to plant, because the crop failure has left many without seeds. If the rains do not appear or are deficient, then the food crisis will worsen considerably as hunger becomes more acute and displacement more widespread. If the rains are too strong, falling on the parched ground, they could wash away crops and lead to flooding.”

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