We close the month of March by celebrating Easter, the cry “He is risen!” resonating through our churches, our lives and our souls.
April, the first full month of spring, launches us into the season of resurrection, when the promise that God made to the world is abundantly evident. We see the buds break, the flowers bloom, the seedlings erupt. We see life return to our blessed earth. “Hallelujah” is the appropriate response to this miracle, just as it was to the miracle that forms a foundation of our faith.
This spring, as Pope Francis begins his reign, we see the promise of rebirth in the Church. He reminds us that we are part of the universal Church, whose teachings and traditions transcend all boundaries, whether political or personal.
He is the first pope from Latin America, where God’s message of redemption was first heard six centuries ago. It fell on fertile land that continues to produce millions of the faithful, including this humble son of Italian immigrants, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
At Catholic Relief Services, we believe that solidarity can change the world. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that nothing can stop our hope, our message, our fulfillment. Pope Francis’ journey from Buenos Aires to Rome illustrates this beautifully.
Throughout his time in Argentina, Pope Francis lived the Gospel by devoting his attention to the poor, the sick and the vulnerable. Through his actions and words, he spoke of the necessity of economic justice, echoing the eloquent writings of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
As you know, Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope. He took as his name that of Saint Francis, whose devotion to the poor, and call for humility on the part of the Church and its leaders, changed history. I hope we at CRS combine the same traditions our new pope calls on: St. Francis’ cry for the common good and the uncommon excellence of the Jesuit intellectual tradition. And I hope that we, too, are humbled by our tasks, knowing that we are your servants as together we seek to fulfill the message of the Gospel.
Even as we celebrate the burgeoning of spring, we recognize that there are many places in the world where the promise of the season will not be fulfilled—places where want, disease and hunger are the harvest.
Thank you for bringing hope to our brothers and sisters overseas, and for letting them know that in this season of resurrection, God’s love shines the world over—even in its darkest corners.
May blessings overflow,
Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President & CEO
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