Kianna Garmanian, Staff Writer
In 1943, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was formed by the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States to help refugees during World War II. Over time, CRS expanded to other parts of the globe and began offering assistance and support to individuals worldwide. Recognizing the great reality of poverty and suffering that many countries face, CRS works to not only provide aid, but also works on developing programs to help ensure sustainability and prosperity within societies. For example, instead of only bringing food to malnourished communities, CRS also teaches about agricultural initiatives and strategies for growing crops. In addition to agriculture, CRS also helps in other ways, including assistance with healthcare, education, and clean water projects.
Today, individuals all around the world have devoted their lives to CRS and are working to help others everywhere. Rooted in Catholic social teaching, CRS promotes and lives by the concept of Integral Human Development (IHD). As stated on the Catholic Relief Services website, “IHD is the sustained growth that everyone has the right to enjoy and represents an individual’s cultural, physical, natural, economic, political, social and spiritual wholeness.” The importance of respect for all persons is highlighted, and CRS works to strengthen the lives of all, especially those who are the most neglected in society.
Inspired by the works of Catholic Relief Services, students at St. Martin’s have decided to get involved in this worldwide movement. Campus Minister Angela Carlin comments, “Catholic Relief Services is the global relief and development outreach of the US Catholic Church. By establishing a vibrant CRS Ambassador program here at St. Martin’s, students will be able to join with people of faith from across the country in responding to human suffering and advocating for justice. In doing so, we can be prophetic witnesses in our community here on campus about the responsibility to love our neighbor – no matter how far away they live – by standing in solidarity with them and upholding their dignity as human beings.”
This November, global hunger is highlighted, as nearly 800 million people are malnourished across the world. CRS is currently serving in poor regions to help farmers grow food and create more sustainable environments. CRS Ambassadors at St. Martin’s are also working to assist on campus, by teaching others about poverty and taking action (hosting fundraisers, organizing food drives, etc.). Student CRS Ambassador Astrid Serrano states, “When I think of my role as a CRS Ambassador I think about advocacy and prayer. CRS has allowed me to see that as a college student, I can make a difference. I can advocate on my college campus and help spread awareness. My vision for SMU’s CRS chapter includes higher retention and wider campus exposure. With such a small campus, I feel as though we have an advantage that other schools don’t. Many students aren’t even aware of the issues that CRS works with. However, if our chapter continues to host events, our hopes are for others to join us in educating and advocating.”
St. Teresa of Avila beautifully reminds us that “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.” If you are interested in joining the worldwide movement to help serve others in many ways, come to Campus Ministry in Old Main Room 316 to learn more about the role of a student CRS Ambassador.