U.S. Bishops Urged to Collect Aid for Sudanese

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The president of the episcopal conference has urged U.S. bishops to ask Catholics to offer prayers and contribute to a special collection for people suffering persecution and deprivation in Sudan.

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Bishop Wilton Gregory called the situation in Sudan «horrible.» For decades «our brothers and sisters have experienced tremendous suffering because of war and hatred,» he said.

In Sudan, government-backed Arab militias known as the «Janjaweed» have killed an estimated 30,000 black Africans in the Darfur region in the last 17 months. World leaders have called the situation the «worst humanitarian crisis» on earth.

Special prayers will be offered this Sunday, and a collection will be taken up at a later date.

Bishop Gregory said that Catholic Relief Services will ensure that the funds go to the Sudanese people who are most in need.

He added that a broad coalition of religious, human rights, and humanitarian organizations will undertake other efforts to help address the crisis in Sudan in a «Day of Conscience» for Sudan, next Wednesday.

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