When I accepted my appointment to serve as Chair of the Catholic Relief Services Board of Directors, I recognized the importance of providing occasional reports to the people of the Archdiocese regarding these duties, especially when they take me abroad on CRS work. CRS carries out the commitment of the U.S. bishops on behalf of Catholics in the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable oversees. From this perspective, I act as your ambassador to demonstrate our solidarity and support for our suffering brothers and sisters in more than 90 countries around the world.
Many of the places where CRS serves are hard to access and life in those places is often unpredictable. My recent trip as part of a small CRS delegation to the Middle East demonstrated this reality in spades. Shortly before our scheduled departure to Lebanon we were advised to forgo this stop because of current security issues in that country. As I was departing from Oklahoma City to begin the abbreviated itinerary in Jordan, mechanical problems caused a travel complication which eliminated that part of the itinerary as well, at least for me. That left the Holy Land.