By this time, my own words are unnecessary and inadequate to describe the horror and devastation which has fallen upon Japan. As of this morning, the death total had risen to almost 3,000 and mounting quickly.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) personnel throughout the Pacific have been communicating with organizations of the Catholic Church in these areas and stand ready to assist. Caritas Japan, the humanitarian organization of the Japanese Catholic Conference, is assessing the needs. CRS has programs in the Philippines and Indonesia, and also works with Caritas Oceania which is active in many Pacific islands that might be affected. Central American countries where CRS works could also be in danger. In the next few days, once additional information becomes available, CRS will develop a response taking into account all affected countries. To learn more about relief efforts in Japan, you can refer to http://crs.org/japan/
The people of Japan and other affected areas need our help. I would encourage your parish to consider taking up a voluntary collection for CRS in order to support these emergency efforts. Please know that the funds will be used for immediate humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable and for support to the local Catholic Church in its on-going mission.
Please join me in continued prayers for those who have died in this tragic occurrence as well as for those who endeavor to rebuild their lives.