Canada's Bishops and the Canadian Organization for Development and Peace have announced a joint emergency campaign to help refugees from the conflict in Syria.

In a letter signed by Archbishop Richard Smith, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bishops note that Pope Francis has appealed to Catholic charitable organizations to cooperate in providing humanitarian aid for Syrians who have lost homes, are displaced, or are refugees.

"Therefore, together with the Pope and all the Bishops of Canada, I invite you, through prayer and in works of charity, to be in solidarity with the people of Syria in their many sufferings due to war, violence and
displacement," Archbishop Smith wrote in the June 19th letter. "As a community of faith, let us pray to God to bring justice, peace and healing to the region. Let each of us do what we can to provide assistance and aid to our suffering brothers and sisters in Syria and its neighbouring countries."
Donations made through Development and Peace will assist the extensive work being carried out in the Middle East by Catholic charities and development agencies, particularly Caritas Internationalis.

Caritas Internationalis and CCODP estimate the number of Syrians inside the country needing assistance to be about 7 million. A third of Syrian hospitals are not functioning. Some 7,000 Syrians each day flee 
to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. It is believed this humanitarian crisis in Syria has already 
claimed some 90,000 lives.

The special joint emergency campaign for Syria begins Sunday, June 30, 2013, and will continue
throughout the summer. It will culminate with a day of prayer and fasting for the people of Syria and
all the Middle East on Saturday, September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

All donations to the special campaign, whether by individuals or parishes, should be sent to Development and Peace by September 14.

Read the full text of the CCCB letter

Read the press release from Development and Peace

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