In this issue: Catholic Campaign for Human Development National Collection, news from USCCB, and upcoming events!
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Faith In Action Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic Charities of West Michigan

November 2015

Catholic campaign for human development 


National Collection in Parishes the weekend of November 21 and 22 

For over 46.5 million Americans, there is a thin line: between eviction and home, between hunger and health, between unemployment and work, between anxiety and stability. This line is the Poverty Line.  For a family of four, that line is $23,283 a year*.
* Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2012.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by funding community programs that encourage independence. You are essential to its success. Your generous donations will give those in poverty the support they need to make lasting changes.

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Archbishop Kurtz Calls For Welcoming Of Refugees
Fleeing Syria

Catholics in the United States, as well as all people of good will, should express openness and welcome to refugees fleeing Syria and elsewhere in order to survive, said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a statement, September 10. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, issued the call on the heels of Pope Francis’ appeal, September 6, that every Catholic parish in Europe house a refugee family.

“The Catholic Church in the United States—with nearly 100 Catholic Charities agencies and hundreds of parishes assisting refugees to this country each year, and with Catholic Relief Services providing humanitarian aid to refugees in the Middle East and Europe—stands ready to help in this effort,” wrote Archbishop Kurtz.

Archbishop Kurtz expressed his solidarity with the pope, the bishops of Syria, the Middle East, and Europe, “and all people who have responded to this humanitarian crisis with charity and compassion.” He also encouraged the U.S. government “to assist more robustly the nations of Europe and the Middle East in protecting and supporting these refugees and in helping to end this horrific conflict, so refugees may return home in safety.

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European Migrant Crisis Grows

Catholic Relief Services is scaling up humanitarian relief efforts in response to the record number of refugees and economic migrants crossing into the Balkans and southeastern Europe.  In the month of July alone, Europe received more than 107,000 new arrivals, with a majority of them moving through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. More than 80% are fleeing war-torn Syria for the European Union, where they're seeking safety and a better life…

CRS is working with local Catholic, Orthodox, nongovernmental organizations and government partners to provide emergency relief, medical care, translation services and legal counseling. We've reached more than 5,000 vulnerable refugees and migrants in the past month.
CRS has also constructed a facility equipped with beds, bedding, bathrooms and showers in the town of Kanjiza, near the Serbian and Hungarian border. About 1,000 refugees and migrants pass through the town each day. And we've increased access to medical, legal and other support services for more than 3,800 refugees.





USCCB Committee Chair Reflects on Criminal Justice Bill

Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Sr. Donna Markham welcomed the recent introduction of the bi-partisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 in the United States Senate. The Act reduces certain mandatory minimum sentences, expands so-called sentencing "safety valves," works to reduce recidivism with expanded prison-based programs, and limits solitary confinement for juvenile offenders, among other things… "Pope Francis stressed only days ago that: 'Jesus ... teaches us to see the world through his eyes. Eyes which are not scandalized by the dust picked up along the way, but want to cleanse, heal and restore. He asks us to create new opportunities: for inmates, for their families, for correctional authorities, and for society as a whole,'" said Archbishop Wenski.


What is Religious Freedom? News and resources from the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

To view this video and articles on the topic of religious freedom:

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Bishops Welcome Constructive Dialogue To Protect Creation And Address Climate Change

Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Bishop Oscar Cantú welcomed a new resolution introduced in Congress, September 17, by a group of Republican legislators.

“The bishops welcome the commitment of a group of Members of Congress to engage in constructive dialogue, and work together in Congress to address climate change and protect our common home,” said Archbishop Wenski in response to the announcement of a Congressional resolution sponsored by several Republican members in the House of Representatives, including Congressman Chris Gibson





Take Action
European Refugee Crisis: 7 Things You Can Do To Help

As the refugee and migrant crisis grows in Europe, Catholic Relief Services and our partners like Caritas are there on the ground, providing assistance to families in need. As the difficult images fill the news, many people and parishes have asked what they can do to help. Here are seven tangible actions you can take to make a difference in the lives of people who have left their homes behind due to violent and difficult situations.


#End45: Raise a Hand to End Poverty in America
45 million people in America are living in poverty today – one in seven individuals.  Poverty doesn’t discriminate.  It often takes one misfortune or one missed paycheck to change an individual or family’s life and cause them to fall below the poverty line.  #End45: Raise a Hand to End Poverty in America aims to raise awareness for the 45 million people living in poverty in the United States today and the millions of others in need or struggling to make ends meet.

To learn more about #end45, visit the webpage 



Resources and Upcoming Events



RESOURCES: is ready to be shared locally, to help communities witness to their faith and respond to Pope Francis' call to be a Church which "goes forth"!  In the vision of the bishops' statement, Communities of Salt and Light, the site equips faith communities to integrate the call to mission throughout their efforts to pray, reach out, learn and act together.