We have all witnessed the massive undertaking of evacuating Afghan families from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

It is fortunate that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approached Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, along with its counterparts throughout the state, to help Afghan families at Fort Dix, a US Army Base in New Jersey. Staff have been traveling to the base to work with the Afghan people by providing legal assistance, psychological first aid, and general wellness and recreational activities. There are over 4,000 Afghanis at Fort Dix, with several thousand more expected in the coming weeks.

The turmoil has been challenging, as the government and non-profits are working together to establish systems to address the situation. Throughout it all, we are mindful of the trauma these families are going through, as they have left their home country during a time of crisis. Their journeys have been dangerous, but they are grateful to be here.

Consequently, Cardinal Tobin has authorized a special voluntary collection to be taken up at all parishes of the Archdiocese during the weekend of October 2-3. In addition, please remember these families in the General Intercessions at Mass and at all prayer services your parish or school communities may be scheduling in the weeks to come. As Pope Francis has said, “To welcome the stranger is to welcome Christ.”

Any monetary donations received will be used to directly support the Afghan families at Fort Dix.

As always, I thank you for your generosity at this critical moment and for your continued service to the Church and her people.

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