Bishop Salvatore R. Matano is asking parishes throughout the Rochester Diocese to hold voluntary second collections to help provide humanitarian relief for those who are suffering in the Middle East. Suggested dates for the second collections are Sept. 6-7 and Sept. 13-14.
In an Aug. 21 letter to diocesan pastoral leaders, Bishop Matano noted that he is instituting the collection as a response to "an urgent request" from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"As you know, thousands of Christians have been forced under grave threat to flee their homes in the Mosul region of Iraq. In other parts of Iraq, in Syria and in Gaza, violence also has escalated, causing much displacement and suffering," Bishop Matano explained in his letter. "Your generosity certainly will be a blessing to those who are struggling to survive, to protect their children and to live with dignity and freedom."
All proceeds will be forwarded to Catholic Relief Services and other Catholic agencies assisting with the humanitarian effort. Those donating by check should make the check out to their parish with "Middle East Relief" in the memo/notes field.
Bishop Matano also asked pastoral leaders to encourage special prayers "for these innocent victims of violence, asking our good and gracious God to alleviate their suffering and bring peace and goodwill to this oft-troubled region."