Celebrating its 75th anniversary yesterday at its headquarters in Monrovia, Catholic Relief Service’s (CRS) Country Representative Mr. Bill Rastetter said that the organization is committed to a long stay in Liberia. The anniversary is also being celebrated in more than 100 countries where CRS has its operations to serve the most vulnerable.
He said CRS came to Liberia in 1990 during the civil war and immediately began to provide relief to the most vulnerable in the country, who did not know where help was coming from.
“The CRS Liberia Program has served the people in Liberia, but this has been possible only with the Government of Liberia and the Catholic Church,” he said.
Mr. Rastetter said of the many donors who continue to support “us, none surpasses the generous support of the Government of the United States that we receive through USAID.”
On behalf of “our world headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States, I express our appreciation to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Liberia as without the active support of the Church, CRS would not exist,” he said.
He also commended all those who have played important roles in supporting CRS over the years. He made mention of Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia for his continuous support to CRS since its beginning in 1990.
Speaking on behalf of Archbishop Zeigler, the Very Rev. Charles E. Boyce, Vicar General at the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia, commended the CRS and all those who have contributed to the organization in its mission to ease the tears of suffering humanity.
“We want to thank the CRS for the good work you continue to do for the people of Liberia,” he noted.
In a press release, the CRS commented on its role as one of the leading humanitarian and development organizations around the world. “At a time when humanitarian needs globally are at an all-time high, the CRS has achieved more than seven decades of innovation and growth to fight poverty around the world,” the release said.
“This is the time when we should celebrate all that we have accomplished over the past 75 years, and double down on our commitment to provide life-saving and life-transforming assistance to some of the most disadvantaged people around the world,” the release quoted Mr. Sean Callahan, president & CEO of CRS, who became the agency’s president last year.
He said this anniversary, more importantly, is an occasion to look forward to seeing how “we can be even more effective as we confront global poverty in the coming decades.”
On its presence in Liberia, the release said the CRS has been operating in Liberia since 1990 in partnership with the Government of Liberia and the Catholic Church. “During the years of conflict and then Ebola, CRS provided life-saving humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of Liberians and, with the establishment of peace, the CRS is now focused on long-term development activities,” the release said.
“We are currently focused on youth livelihood, peace-building, urban wash and health, with a commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in Liberia,” the release said.
CRS is an international humanitarian relief and development organization founded in 1944 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States, and is present over 100 countries, reaching more than 120 million people on an annual basis. CRS has been operating in Liberia since 1990, focused specifically on the sectors of Emergency Response, Health, Justice and Peace and Agriculture.
Meanwhile, CRS is commemorating this milestone with a number of recognition and promotional events over the next 12 months. At yesterday’s event, visitors were led to a walk-through of CRS’s history in Liberia and the world.