Monday, June 27, 2011

Bishop Cistone Makes Pastoral Visit to Ethiopia, Kenya

Bishop Cistone has asked that the faithful of the Diocese of Saginaw pray with him as he travels to the countries on behalf of Catholic Relief Services

SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, left today for Ethiopia and Kenya. As a member of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Board of Directors, he has been invited to visit several countries where CRS maintains emergency and long-term relief, food and clothing distribution centers and medical facilities.

“With the financial help of the faithful of the United States, CRS has been providing services to the people of Ethiopia for decades and continues to the present day,” Bishop Cistone said.

CRS was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States and since that time has expanded to reach more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries on five continents. The mission of CRS is 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. Although the mission is rooted in the Catholic faith, CRS operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity.

While overseas, Bishop Cistone will visit various mission sites and access the work of CRS in Ethiopia and Kenya.

“I would love to be in a position to tell the people of Ethiopia and Kenya that I bring with me the love, prayers and solidarity of the faithful of the Diocese of Saginaw, “ Bishop Cistone said. “So, I ask you to keep the people of Africa in your prayers during the next few weeks. Pray for my safe journey; and, on my return, I will share with you how you and countless other concerned people have made a difference in the lives of millions of men, women and children in Ethiopia and Kenya.”

A “Prayer for the People of Africa” will be posted to the diocesan website, Bishop Cistone will share videos, photos and reflections from his pastoral visit following his return in July.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw supports the work of CRS through the Operation Rice Bowl program that takes place each year during Lent. In the last decade, local parishioners have donated more than $1 million. While 75 percent of that money is sent to CRS to feed, clothe and care for the poor in countries overseas, 25 percent stays in the local community to assist the poor with food, shelter and other emergency needs. In addition, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has taken special collections to support CRS with its relief efforts in countries that have been devastated by natural disasters, such as recent events in Haiti and Japan.

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.

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