Release Date

September 16, 2010

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101 Days of Prayer for Peace in Sudan

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is calling on Catholics in the United States to support peace in Sudan, where a tenuous accord between the north and south hangs in the balance, by participating in 101 Days of Prayer.

Spanning the 101 days between International Day of Peace, September 21, 2010, and the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2011, the campaign provides prayers and resources to help Catholics become advocates for peace. The campaign brings together the Sudanese Catholic Bishops, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and CRS, in this urgent call for peace.

A nation with a long history of war, Sudan is again at a crossroads. The country is bracing for a January 9 referendum, a crucial provision of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, on whether the south will secede from the north. If the referendum comes off peacefully, with an outcome that is respected by all, it could lead Sudan into a new era of peace and prosperity. If it does not, the result could be catastrophic violent conflict.

"If we had known about Rwanda two years in advance of the tremendous massacres and the genocide, what would we have done?" asked Sean Callahan, Executive Vice President for Overseas Operations with CRS. "And in looking at Sudan, we have a timeframe."

The Catholic bishops of Sudan have raised urgent concerns about this volatile situation, and CRS and the USCCB are taking action to avert conflict by supporting the 101 Days of Prayer. CRS is committing $4 million to build and keep peace in Sudan—in addition to the millions of dollars of development and emergency assistance that CRS provides in Sudan.

"CRS can't do this alone. The Sudanese can't do this alone. We call upon the American Catholic community to join us in our efforts and the work of our partners in Sudan and around Sudan, to pray, to learn, to advocate, and to share their resources for the people of Sudan," said Dan Griffin, Sudan Advisor with CRS.

"The church tries always to be the voice of the voiceless, the mouthpiece of those unable to speak," said Bishop Deng Majak, President of the Sudanese Catholic Bishops Conference. In a recent letter to his fellow Catholics, he added, "We encourage you to pray as individuals and together as families and communities during these 14 weeks."

Catholics and others of good faith are encouraged to go to peaceinsudan.crs.org to pray, learn, advocate or donate to support peace in Sudan.

CRS has been working in Sudan since the end of the first major civil war in 1972. One of the largest nongovernmental humanitarian agencies working in the country, CRS' relief and development projects serve more than 1 million people across Sudan.

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Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org.