Catholic Extension's work in Puerto Rico is recognized by Pope Francis

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For 112 years, Catholic Extension Society, a registered nonprofit, has been striving to strengthen the presence of the Catholic Church in the poorest areas of the United States. This past year, one of their main focuses has been Puerto Rico.

Vice President of Mission, Catholic Extension
“As you can imagine, the nature of our work has shifted this year in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, which brought so much devastation to the island. Over the past seven months or so, since the hurricane hit, really the island has been very much in emergency mode.”

In addition to the physical work of constructing and repairing churches, they are also serving the people in a much deeper way. It's so profound that even Pope Francis noticed them.

“In a special way, I greet the members of the Catholic Extension Society of the United States, with gratitude for their contribution to the work of rebuilding in Puerto Rico. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!”

Vice President of Mission, Catholic Extension
“It was such an incredible experience to hear Pope Francis mention our organization, Catholic Extension by name and thank us for our efforts in Puerto Rico. To say that that was a special moment for us would be the understatement of the year.”  

This call-out was the motivation they needed to continue to provide support to the six Catholic dioceses on the island, helping them remain open to especially serve the poor. 

At least 1,200 churches were been impacted after the storms and the blackout has only prolonged the “emergency mode” they've been in for months. They are expecting at least several years before any sense of normalcy returns. 

Vice President of Mission, Catholic Extension
“What the bishops have been telling us, what the pope has been telling us is that the Church is in a permanent state of mission; that the mission never ends. And that's our identity as well, at Catholic extension.”

Their mission extends to all areas of the Church, externally and internally, through vocations and ministry. As a registered nonprofit, they ask for continued support, just like Pope Francis gave them in Rome to continue their mission. 

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