Catholic Relief Services honored on 70th anniversary

Catholic Relief Services celebrates 70 years CNA US Catholic News 6 3 13 Catholic Relief Services celebrates 70 years.

In recognition of the 70th anniversary of Catholic Relief Services last week, the mayor of Baltimore declared an official "Catholic Relief Services Day" on May 31.

In an official proclamation, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared that "the people of Baltimore are proud of their rich and diverse church communities" and "extend their very best wishes" to the organization.

She recognized Catholic Relief Services for its mission of seeking "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."

Observing that the organization was started in 1943 by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to aid World War II survivors in Europe, Rawlings-Blake noted that the agency has since expanded to serve "more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries on five continents."

The international aid organization is headquartered in Baltimore and has worked for seven decades to offer disaster relief, development and aid to those in need across the globe.

Catholic Relief Services is involved in ongoing community recovery in Haiti after a catastrophic earthquake devastated much of the country in 2010. Efforts include building more secure and sustainable structures, creating a "teaching hospital" and helping farmers add value to their crops.

The agency also played a critical role in responding to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated areas of Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. In addition, it has worked to help meet the needs of people in areas of unrest, such as Sudan and Syria.

Dr. Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services, wrote in a May 21 blog post reflecting on the agency's 70th anniversary.

She explained that "the work that is done here will live for as far as can be seen into the future, and beyond. And it will do that for one reason – because it is not the work of people; it is the work of God."

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