Dear Parishioners,

The world is still coming to realize the inexpressible loss of life and devastation that has resulted by Tuesday's 7.0 earthquake in Haiti. The quake may have comple

tely collapsed the entire infrastructure of the country. Many countries have mobilized aid and are trying to analyze the extent of the damage. Time will tell how bad it is.

Offering Help

How can you help? First pray. Pray for the dead and the survivors. God is at work through each of us and our prayers. We need to pray for calm and an increase of faith.

Another good way is by offering temporal help. Some people may be tempted to send things that they think may help the Haitian people such as shoes or food. But, what is needed right now is monetary assistance. Personally, I recommend Catholic Relief Services as an excellent organization that will use your donation well. You can donate by going to their donation site. Here's an excerpt from the CRS Blog:

CRS is moving in supplies as fast as possible. 1500 metric tons of vegetable oil and grains from USAID Food for Peace will arrive today at the northern Haiti Port of Cap Haitiene. Five trucks full of food, hygiene kits, and tarps are also on their way today from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince.

Access is very difficu

lt. Debris blocks many roads. But we have begun distributing food, hygiene kits, water, and medical supplies to households in informal camps around Port-au-Prince. We’re now working with our local and international Caritas partners to identify primary sites for next distributions.

We’re hearing reports of extensive damage in other towns west of Port-au-Prince. CRS and Caritas will assess some of these areas in the coming days. CRS is mobilizing aid and planning a $25 million response. To date, donors have contributed more than $11.9 million in cash and commitments; $7.3 million of this amount has been received via web donations.

Another way you can donate to CRS by texting on your cell phone RELIEF to 30644 and follow the instructions. According to the CRS Blog site, "After texting, you’ll get a text message reply asking you to call a number where you’ll will hear a brief message from Ken Hackett. Then you will be automatically connected to our call center where you can make a credit card donation."

In the weekend of January 23/24, all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Portland will be conducting a second collection at Mass. These funds will all go to CRS.

Avoid Scams

In a time like this, it is hard to believe, but some people will use this crisis as an opportunity to scam unwitting people who wish to do good. To learn more, click here to read cnet's article on this issue.


Fr. William Holtzinger