Feb 24 - Archdiocese of Boston Special Collection Expected To Raise $2 Million For Haiti Relief Efforts*

Cardinal Seán to Travel to Haiti March 1-3rd
Catholic Charities Boston Outreach significant

Braintree, MA -- Cardinal Seán O'Malley announced that parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston have thus far collected $1.767 million for Haiti relief efforts following the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake. With 50 parishes still to report, the Archdiocese estimates the collection will total $2 million.

Cardinal Seán said, "I am deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for our brothers and sisters in Haiti.  Our parishioners' generosity at a time when so many are experiencing economic hardship speaks to the depth of concern our Catholic family has for the people of Haiti."

The Special Collection was held in parishes January 16 & 17 or January 30 & 31.  Parishes were given the option of choosing either weekend to hold the collection.  Funds collected are being sent to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to assist in relief efforts in Haiti.  CRS is coordinating with local and international agencies to determine how best to provide help where it is most needed.

The Cardinal added, "The Church is blessed to be able to respond to the needs of those impacted by the earthquake in Haiti and to their friends and family in our local communities, through our pastoral, health care and social service ministries. We hold the people of Haiti in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to do all we can to assist our brethren in their time of greatest need."

The Cardinal will travel to Haiti, March 1-3, 2010 to see firsthand the recovery efforts and to bring the love and concern of the people of Boston to their brothers and sisters in need. The Cardinal is a member of a recently-formed Haiti Advisory Group that will assist the U.S. Church in advising how best to provide for the long-term needs of the Church in Haiti.

Catholic Charities Boston

In addition, Catholic Charities Boston reported on its efforts since the January 12th earthquake.

Catholic Charities of Boston was the first in the state to offer free legal services to Haitians seeking Temporary Protected Status (TPS) following the disaster, through its Refugee and Immigration Services. To date, the agency has provided free legal help to more than 600 Haitians during clinics held in Dorchester and Brockton.

Tiziana Dearing, President of Catholic Charities Boston said, "We here at Catholic Charities have been collaborating at the very center of the city's response. Whether it's providing a meeting place where families can come together for comfort and support during this crisis, or providing for their basic needs because they are sending all of their resources and money back home, we continue to provide wrap around services."

Catholic Charities has worked to assist in fundraising for its sister organization, Catholic Relief Services, in its relief efforts on the ground in Haiti. Additionally, Catholic Charities has utilized generous donations from organizations to provide support in meeting the basic needs of the local Haitian community as it struggles to find ways to help their loved ones in Haiti.

In the days following the quake, Catholic Charities worked closely with the Mayor's office, legislators, and leaders in local churches and community organizations, to create a meeting place and response center for the community to come together for help, support, and relief information. Catholic Charities was able to supplement these efforts, with the help of Comcast, by setting up a phone bank at the Haitian Multi Service Center. Local Haitians have been able to come to the Center to call loved ones in Haiti, free of charge.

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 291 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 46,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach and in support of a health care ministry that meets the needs of some 1 million patients each year.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit  www.BostonCatholic.org.