Responding to an Emergency

Natural disasters, political crises and humanitarian emergencies often occur when we least expect and without advanced warning. During past emergencies, the U.S. Catholic Church has been most generous in their response to aid those in need. CRS Diocesan Directors are called upon to answer questions from parishes, Bishops, and the media. The following are steps you can take when responding to an emergency.

  • Look for information to come to you through your e-mail. When a disaster occurs, CRS will provide you with the most up-to-date information about the crisis itself, current CRS activities in the affected area and ways your community can respond.
  • Call the U.S. Operations office to see if CRS has programs in the area of the emergency and, if so, inform the Bishop and diocesan leaders about CRS’ response.
  • Encourage your Bishop to write letters to all parishes inviting them to pray for victims of the crisis and for those who will risk their lives to assist them.
  • Coordinate national collections with your Bishop.
  • Work with your Communications and Chancery offices to ensure information on the emergency and CRS’ response is getting to parishes.
  • Work with secular and diocesan papers to ensure CRS’ name and address are included in their list of agencies responding to a particular crisis and to develop articles on CRS’ response.
  • Contact CRS for speaking engagements in your community or contact local immigrants from the country in crisis to speak at parish or diocesan functions and/or be a source of information for news media.
  • Report back to the diocese on monies raised and CRS’ response.

We recognize each diocese works differently and encourage you to contact the U.S. Operations office if you have a special need or specific questions relating to emergency response. If your diocese is looking to respond with In-Kind (material) donations, please contact the U.S. Operations office first. Not all material donations can be accepted by Catholic Relief Services, so, therefore, it is important to contact the U.S. Operations office before collecting donated items.