Ministry Monday-Helping the Poor
I realize it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted.  Hopefully, you noticed and have been waiting eagerly for my next post to come.  Actually, I'd just be happy if you noticed at all!

This week I want to highlight two ministries that focus on helping the poor throughout the world. 

First, Catholic Relief Services (CRS). 

What can I say about this amazing group of people?  Not only do they help they poor, they give them the tools to help themselves.  CRS has done amazing things to help the poor throughout the world.  You're probably familiar with CRS' Lenten Ministry-Operation Rice Bowl.  This Lenten tradition helps to give a new meaning to our fasting by connecting us to those who have so little.  By learning about the plight of the poor in other countries and collecting money to help them, we become a closely knit global community. 

But Operation Rice Bowl isn't CRS' only effort.  CRS has been a major player in the fair trade movement.  Their program and catalog enable the poor to change their circumstances through education and opportunity.  You may be wondering why fair trade is an issue of faith.  I'll let CRS tell you themselves-Click here to find out why.  You can help support this project by purchasing items from their Fair Trade catalog.  Remember, Christmas is just around the corner...

One outstanding example of a successful CRS program is their AIDS Relief program.  Over the past ten years, CRS has been able to make significant changes that have enabled those in third world countries who are infected with HIV to live their lives again instead of just waiting to die.

Like I said, these are amazing people!

Next, Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA).

My first encounter with CFCA was at my parish on a Sunday several years ago.  A priest from CFCA came and spoke about their work throughout the world.  He described the dire circumstances that he sees on a daily basis through his missionary work.  After his sermon, my children were hooked.  They wanted to sponsor someone through CFCA.  At first my husband and I thought this was a whim that would pass with time but the three of them persisted and even pooled their money to pay for the first month's sponsorship.  As you can see by the name, you can sponsor both children or the elderly; one of the few charitable organizations to include the elderly. 

Before we even said yes, the kids were on the CFCA website trying to choose their sponsor child.  They finally settled on a girl named Daylin who has two younger brothers (just like at our house).  For the past few years we've received pictures of Daylin as she's grown and letters from her mother telling us of her progress at school.  Through sponsorships, scholarships and programs to help the people gain the skills to lift themselves out of poverty, CFCA is living the Gospel each and every day.  I encourage you to consider sponsoring a child, youth or elderly participant.  The amount you give is so small compared to what they receive in services.  You'll be glad you did.

Blessings,
Laura