CRS Syrian Refugee Update

CRS Global Emergency Snapshot May 2016
Rama attends the CRS-supported Latin School of Naour in Amman, Jordan, part of the CRS outreach to Syrian refugees.  Photo by Oscar Durand/CRS

It is easy to think of people we do not know as being strangers or the “other.”  I was struck by something that  Abraham Maslow said.  He believes that humans have an intense need to belong, to have a sense of community with one another – in Church speak we call it solidarity.  Believing that at our core we are all humans in one human family.  This explains our common need to be part of families and bonds created in organizations ranging from the workplace to fraternal associations to platoons.  Those refugees suffering a half a world away Continue reading “CRS Syrian Refugee Update”

Presentation on Rufugee Crisis

  Tomorrow Wednesday, February 17th at St. George Catholic Church in Newnan I will be giving a presentation about my recent trip to the Balkans where I met with refugees from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be Stations of the Cross at 6:00 pm and the class will begin at 7:00 pm.   Everyone is welcome!

I hope you can make some or all of these events part of your Lent this year.

Syria…Maybe Some Real Hope!

Photo from USA Today

Spending time with the refugees, CRS and Caritas workers in Greece and Serbia will affect ones heart and strengthen feelings of compassion and mercy for the refugees and aid workers.  There may be some good news for them and good news for the world.  The announcement that, “Diplomats meeting in Munich agreed early Friday to implement a ‘cessation of hostilities’ in Syria’s long-running civil war and bring aid into the country to stem a humanitarian crisis that has displaced millions,” is a ray of hope for millions that have fled and desire to return home.  Perhaps soon humanitarian organizations like Caritas and CRS can begin to help those trapped in Syria by the war in addition to those who have fled.

The full story is here: US-Russia Agree to Cease Fire in Syria.

Let’s pray it is for real and goes into effect.

Schengen, why Americans should care about refugees, part 3.


Shengen Area – a reason to care
Over the past week I have tried to explain why all Americans should be concerned about the refugee crisis in Europe.  After returning from the Catholic Relief Services trip to the Balkans, I have been blogging and meeting with many people about this important issue.  In short, we should provide aid and revise our thinking and policies for three reasons.

 First, assisting people who are fleeing war and/or persecution is just the right and Christian thing to do.  Second, admitting that our country bears some responsibility for destabilizing the Middle East prompts us to assist our friends and allies who bearing the brunt of the unintended consequences.  Yet, there are people that I know who reject these two rationales for providing aid and assistance to the refugees.  For them, I would suggest another, quite self serving reason for giving direct and indirect aid to the refugees.  That reason can be summed up in one word, Schengen.  This word is quite important so I hope you will read on. Continue reading “Schengen, why Americans should care about refugees, part 3.”

The Refugee Crisis…Why Americans Should Care, Part 2

A refugee child that made it safely to Athens.

The number of refugees in the world today is truly staggering.  The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees publishes statistics on refugees and they show that there are more than 19.5 milliOn refugees globally.  Over half of the refugees are under 18 years old.  Today, around 86% of all refugees have sought safety in Continue reading “The Refugee Crisis…Why Americans Should Care, Part 2”

Refugees…Reasons Americans Should Care


A young father and his son arrive at the port in Athens, Greece.

Over the past two weeks I have been blogging about what our Catholic Relief Services Global Fellows delegation saw and did while in Greece and Serbia.  The mission was enlightening for us because nothing in the media back home really captured a sense of the refugee crisis or the humanitarian response taking place.  We heard stories of great bravery and desperation and saw aid and assistance given to people who did not expect it.  Each of us have been trying to convey to our fellow countrymen the scope of the situation, who the refugees are, why they are fleeing and the aid being provided.  I am humbled by the dedication and youth of many of the aid workers.  I am proud to report about the work done by CRS staff to help organize and support the various charitable organizations, including Caritas.  I am also somewhat amazed when a fellow American sincerely asks, “Why should Americans care, isn’t this a Middle East and European problem?

Over the next week I want to explain why I believe everyone should care, especially Americans. By ‘care’ I don’t mean adopting a position that advocates stopping the migration or ‘sending them back’ but why we should try to understand the cause for the refugee migration, aid those fleeing and actively work to see an end to the violence so Continue reading “Refugees…Reasons Americans Should Care”