BALTIMORE — “The church did not close during the pandemic,” Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, told the U.S. bishops during their Nov. 14-17 general assembly in Baltimore.
Recapping how the bishops’ overseas relief and development agency has aided more than 192 million people during the past year, Callahan thanked donors in parishes and federal government agencies for providing the financial resources to help people facing challenges that include war, natural disasters, climate change and dire poverty.
“What matters behind this number are the faces, the faces of the children, the families, the elderly that you are assisting around the world at this time, working hand in hand with the local church,” said Callahan, whose report was one of several presented to the bishops during their public session Nov. 16.
The agency’s success in working with country affiliates of the Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis is little known, however, Callahan said.
He asked the bishops to “boast” about what CRS is doing around the world, “so that our faithful understand when they see a crisis in the world, they see themselves assisting.”
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, urged his fellow bishops to affiliate their dioceses with the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, or NCPD.
In a brief presentation, he said the partnership, based in Washington, was founded in 1982 to help develop and provide disability ministry for people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities.
The 65 dioceses that have affiliated with the organization have been better able to integrate people with disabilities into the life of the church, the bishop said.
“I think it would become such a powerful sign for our brothers and sisters with various disabilities to see that every diocese throughout the country is an affiliate of NCPD,” Bishop Burbidge added.
Plans are moving forward on World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
Registration for the Aug. 1-6 event recently opened, with Pope Francis being the first registrant, he said.
“It’s anticipated to be the first million-plus gathering within the Catholic Church since the pandemic,” he said, adding that about 20,000 young people from the U.S. are expected to attend.
The cost will range from $50 to $250 per person depending on the length of stay, housing needs and meals desired.
The World Youth Day theme, “Mary arose and went with haste,” is taken from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel. The celebration is being designed to call on youth to follow Mary’s example to “rise up, get involved and become more active in their commitment to God and to the church,” Archbishop Cordileone said.
U.S. participation in the event is being coordinated through the USCCB Office of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.