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Offices & Ministries » Canonical and Legal Services » Communications & Public Relations » Pressroom » Diocese of Metuchen recognized by Catholic Relief Services for aid in Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts
21 Mar 2014
PISCATAWAY – The Diocese of Metuchen has been recognized for its significant contribution to assist in the Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines coordinated by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an organization which helps to carry out the commitment of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas.
In the wake of the natural disaster, last November, Metuchen Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski asked all parishes in the four-county diocese to take up a special collection to help with CRS’ relief efforts in the Philippines. Altogether, the faithful of the Metuchen diocese donated about $600,000 to the cause – one of the largest amounts collected for this effort among the Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S., according to CRS officials.
“I am honored by the recognition and would like to acknowledge that it is the result of the genuine concern and outpouring of support shown by the people of our diocese, who so generously have responded to the call to help our brothers and sisters in the Philippines,” said Bishop Bootkoski.
“This sort of tragedy could happen anywhere,” the bishop said. “We have to be there for each other and that is part of the Gospel message. As the apostle James says, ‘Faith without works is useless.’”
The collection, initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was part of a nationwide effort to help cover the costs of immediate humanitarian needs and long-term reconstruction and served as a way for U.S. Catholics to express solidarity with the people of the Philippines.
Donations collected included those generated by second collections in diocesan parishes, individuals, matching-gift programs, schools and foundations. The contributions helped CRS offer assistance to about 500,000 people with shelter, living supplies, water, sanitation and hygiene, debris clearing and income recovery. The money also helped boost its staff in the Philippines from about 70 to hundreds after the typhoon.
Officials from the CRS Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region recently traveled to the diocesan center in Piscataway to thank Bishop Bootkoski for the tremendous support shown by the diocese and present him with a certificate of appreciation, signed by Carolyn Y. Woo, CRS’ president and chief executive officer.
Also present at the meeting were members of the diocesan Catholic Charities Solidarity Team and its Filipino Apostolate.
Msgr. Joseph J. Kerrigan, diocesan director, Catholic Charities Solidarity Team and Catholic Campaign for Human Development, explained how Catholic Relief Services-Metuchen is part of the diocese’s Catholic Charities ministry.
“We have about 30 volunteers with the Catholic Charities Solidarity Team in the diocese,” said Msgr. Kerrigan, who also serves as pastor, Holy Family Parish, New Brunswick. “For a lot of them, it is their main volunteer ministry in the Church outside of liturgical ministry. This experience with Haiyan showed there is a whole community out there we hadn’t even reached yet.”
Msgr. Kerrigan said the diocese plans to continue to support CRS’ long-term efforts in the Philippines for issues such as agriculture and housing and is considering the possibility of sending a small delegation to the Philippines.
CRS officials expressed a mutual commitment to a continued and fruitful partnership with the diocese.
“We get so much energy from working with this diocese. There is so much life here, so much joy, so much energy that you bring to this work,” said Cheryl Mrazik, CRS’ relationship manager for the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region. “We feel very privileged to work with this diocese because there’s already been so much work done and there’s potential for so much more to be done as we continue to work together in the coming months and years.”
Father Gerardo Paderon, parochial vicar, Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Metuchen, said he can testify to CRS’ effectiveness because he saw it first-hand in his native Philippines. CRS helped his parish for about 15 years while he served as pastor there.
“It is a joy for us to think that there are a lot of people, not only Filipinos, who are concerned about the tragedy,” said Father Paderon.
During the third week of Lent, March 23 through March 30, the Diocese of Metuchen’s Catholic Charities Solidarity Team will embark on “a week of action” in support of Typhoon Haiyan survivors, including an evening event held March 25 at Holy Family Parish with a collection to benefit the Philippines. For more information call (732) 545-1681 or visit www.hub4sacredheart.org or follow the Twitter feed, twitter.com/holyfamily4all.
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