Schenectady County

Diocese raises cash for Haitians

The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese has raised nearly $650,000 for earthquake victims in Haiti.

The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese has raised nearly $650,000 for earthquake victims in Haiti.

Diocese officials said Wednesday that staff members at Catholic Charities were busy assembling stacks of thousands of thank you letters that will be going out to those who helped contribute to the ongoing effort.

“The contributions have exceeded anyone’s expectations,” Bishop Howard Hubbard said in a statement.

The majority of the money, about $524,000, was raised through a special collection taken up at weekend Masses in January.

Catholic schools also raised $2,700 through their fundraising efforts. Individual donations to Catholic Charities amounted to $122,000.

The donations are still being tallied. Diocese officials said about 80 percent of the parishes in the Albany diocese’s 14-county region have reported their fundraising totals.

A major earthquake struck the southern portion of Haiti, including its capital, Port-au-Prince, on Jan 12.

“Words alone can’t express how pleased and proud I am that the people of the Albany Diocese have come through with such enormous generosity,” Hubbard said. “This is just one more example of how we as Catholics take to heart the social teaching of our faith that calls on us to care for those who are suffering, as we all have seen in the devastation that has impacted the lives of so many people in Haiti.”

Hubbard said the collection mirrors those taken up after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami.

Sister Maureen Joyce, director of Catholic Charities, said 100 percent of the money raised will go to Catholic Relief Services, which has been active in serving the needs in Haiti for decades. Catholic Relief Services has been at the forefront of the current earthquake relief efforts, Joyce said. The organization has been delivering food and water and providing medical care to hundreds of thousand affected by the earthquake.

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