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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Last week's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which measured over 9.0 on the Richter scale, unleashed tremendous damage and great loss of life.  The death toll is significant and is expected to rise as many people remain missing.  We are all sensitive to the issues taking place in relation to radioactive fallout from nuclear power plant sites as well.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.

Generally, Catholics of the Diocese of Worcester respond to natural disasters of this kind in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services.  This international organization represents the American bishops and all U.S. dioceses in providing humanitarian relief.  We know that, in this instance, CRS is working through ‘Caritas Japan’ to provide relief to the Japanese people.

This year the regularly scheduled annual appeal for Catholic Relief Services will take place on the weekend of April 2 and 3.  These funds are all remitted to CRS.  I encourage our parishioners throughout the Diocese to be particularly generous in April’s pre-scheduled annual CRS collection.  In that collection we hope to embrace the needs of the people of Japan in addition to all those others who are regularly served by CRS.

You may also wish to consider contributing directly to the Japanese relief effort and you can do so at www.crs.org/japan

Your generosity in responding to the needs of those who have suffered so many losses will truly help the people of Japan at this difficult time. 

With every prayerful best wish, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester