Collection for CRS help people here and an ocean away

Christine Hovan of the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral’s St. Vincent de Paul Outreach Ministries loaded fresh produce aboard the Bread for Life mobile food pantry in 2021. Bread for Life, based in Bardstown, Ky., received a grant from last year’s CRS collection. (Record File Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Last year, people of the Archdiocese of Louisville — including children — contributed just shy of $100,000 to Catholic Relief Services.

The collection is taken up in parishes each spring, which will be the weekend of March 18 and 19 this year. And children throughout the archdiocese support it each Lent by piling their change into little cardboard Rice Bowls.

Most of the money supports international aid efforts, such as aiding people in war-torn Ukraine. Twenty-five percent of the collection, though, is returned to the archdiocese. The 2022 collection yielded $25,000 for local grants, which Catholic Charities of Louisville distributed to four organizations around the archdiocese.

  • St. John Center, which provides care to homeless men, women and children living on the streets of Louisville, received an $8,000 grant.
  • La Casita Center, which aims to enhance “the well-being of Louisville’s Latinx community through education, empowerment, advocacy and wellness,” received $8,000.
  • The Bread for Life Food Pantry in Bardstown, Ky., a ministry of the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral’s St. Vincent de Paul (SDVP) Outreach Ministries, received $5,000. 
  • The Feed My Sheep Food Pantry in Burkesville, Ky., sponsored by the United Methodist churches in that area, received $4,000.

Catholic Charities’ staff presented the funds last fall in person, said director of mission Father John Schwartzlose, “So we can meet and greet and learn more about our partners.”

The recipients were chosen through a rigorous process that prioritizes projects that directly serve people in need of the basics, he said.

“It’s important to feed and it’s important to shelter and it’s important to help people find stability in life,” said Father Schartzlose. “It’s Matthew 25: When did we see you hungry, when did we see you in prison, hungry and naked? The Lord says when you see the least of these, you see me.”

He noted, “Catholic Relief Services takes this seriously as we do at Catholic Charities of Louisville. When we have something, it’s not ours to keep.”

Experience has shown Father Schwartzlose that the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville tend to take that seriously, too.

“In 23 year as a pastor in the diocese, I’ve heard mentioned that the people of Louisville have been noted for their exceptional generosity,” he said. “I think that’s from being a people of faith …  that we can sacrifice so that others can have something more. That comes from a spirit of giving and a spirit of generosity.” 

The CRS collection provides an opportunity to “answer that call in Matthew 25 to take what we’ve been given and give back generously.”

The collection, he added, “feeds people in your backyard and people an ocean apart.”

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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