As Lent Ends, the Hope of Resurrection Begins: Urge Congress To Hear The Cry Of The Poor02 Apr

U. S. Aid provides food for some of the poorest people in the world; this food stored in a warehouse in Burkina Faso

Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh.
– Isaiah 58:6-7

Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.(Heb 10:24)
-Focus of Pope Benedict XVI message for Lent 2012

One way you can respond to the cry of our brothers and sisters living in crushing poverty around the world is to raise your voice as Congress debates the budget.

Contact your members of Congress today and urge them to strengthen international poverty-focused humanitarian and development assistance as they consider the upcoming federal budget for fiscal year 2013. While our nation’s fiscal challenges are significant, the current economic crisis disproportionately impacts the world’s poorest people.

  • CALL your members of Congress: 1-866-596-7030 (YOU WILL GET TALKING POINTS HERE AND THEN CAN LEAVE YOUR MESSAGE.)

A child in Wattigue, Burkina Faso

President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposes cuts to poverty-focused international assistance, which makes up less than 0.5% of the U.S. federal budget but saves millions of lives around the world.

Poverty-focused international assistance provides food to the hungry, shelter to refugees, it vaccinates children against deadly diseases and educates them for a more prosperous and stable future. Cutting this assistance will not balance the federal budget but cuts will cost lives. For further background, read this recent letter by Bishop Richard Pates, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services.

Your voice matters. Your voice makes a difference. Poverty-focused international assistance was cut by 8% in fiscal year 2011, and a more than 20% cut was proposed for FY 2012. Thanks to your tireless advocacy, when the FY 2012 budget was finalized, we were able to recover 3% of the funding lost the prior year. So  send your email or call your member of Congress as part of your Lenten observance. Raise your voice and take action today!

Catholic Relief Services brings hope to thousands of persons in more than one hundred countries. Working with local governments and communities, as well as with our own government, CRS staff work to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic Social Teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person.

As CRS states on its website: “Our work is about more than helping people survive for the day. Catholic Relief Services approaches emergency relief and long-term development holistically, ensuring that all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, are able to participate in the very fullness of life — to have access to basic necessities, health care and education — all within peaceful, just communities.”

Photos: courtesy Pat Delahanty

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