WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops will sponsor a special collection during the Advent and Christmas seasons to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bishops recognize the ongoing needs of the victims on the East Coast and ask parishioners to be generous during this special time of the year.

“The Church is a primary source of healing and peace when tragedies like this happen,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, vice-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a letter to all U.S. bishops issued December 4. Depleted resources make it “more difficult to provide aid, comfort and, most importantly, the sacraments to those in need,” he said. Immediate needs include food, water, clothing, and adequate shelter. A long-term goal is the reconstruction of damaged churches and related needs.

Funds from the Collection for the Church in Latin America and Catholic Relief Services already have been designated to support relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean. This special collection will be designated for the recovery of those in the United States.Funds collected will be used to support the efforts of the USCCB and Catholic Charities USA, the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, to respond to immediate emergency needs and to the long-term pastoral and reconstruction needs of the church.

Photograph by Gregory Shemitz