The economic crisis weighing down on Europe has caused staggeringly high unemployment rates, resulting in some families losing part or all of their income. People who never had trouble making ends meet, now find they need help feeding their families. At the same time many people who used to donate faithfully to aid agencies, have had to reduce their support in order to feed their own families.
The result is more demand on aid from charities like Caritas, a church-run charity, and fewer resources with which to help those in need.
In Spain, the bishop of Segovia, Angel Rubio, called on his priests to follow him and "walk the talk" so to speak. During the Chrism Mass celebrated on Holy Thursday he asked his priests to do as he was doing and donate 10 percent of their salaries to Caritas for one entire year.
The money would be used to fund a Caritas food bank in the diocese. The bishop also called for a campaign to recruit volunteers to help staff the food bank.
Caritas Internationalis, the Church's international aid agency, has national organizations in countries throughout Europe. Those national branches help fund aid initiatives overseas and run programs like food banks and soup kitchens in many European dioceses.
Photo: Pope Benedict visits Caritas soup kitchen in Rome
Photo courtesy of CNS