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Public Donations Add $1 Million to Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund

Fund Now at $2 Million as Knights Continue to Seek to Aid Those Persecuted in Iraq

Contact: Joe Cullen, 203-800-4923, joseph.cullen@kofc.org; Andrew Walther, 203-752-4253, Andrew.walther@kofc.org; both with Knights of Columbus  

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 10, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- In just over three weeks, the Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief initiative has raised more than $1 million in public donations for those suffering persecution in Iraq and the surrounding region. Combined with the $1 million donated by the K of C, the fund now stands at more than $2 million, which will be distributed to support humanitarian assistance to refugees fleeing from the ongoing persecution.

Expanding its support for persecuted Christians -- and those from other religious minorities in Iraq -- the Knights of Columbus is also adding a spiritual dimension to its response to the humanitarian crisis, urging Knights and their families, as well as the public, to recite the "Prayer for Those Persecuted in Iraq," written by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.

The prayer, available at kofc.org/un/en/resources/communications/prayerforiraq.html, asks for a spirit of "perseverance and courage" for those under attack, and asks the "God of all the nations" to "look with mercy on your servants in Iraq who are persecuted for their faith." It pleads that wisdom may be given to "leaders of nations to work for peace among all peoples."

"The Knights' twin efforts are a concrete response to Pope Francis' request for prayers and material assistance for those affected by this terrible persecution," explained CEO and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. He added, "We are asking our members, and all people of good will, to pray for those persecuted and to support our efforts to assist them by donating to this fund."

Anderson also noted: "It has shocked the conscience of the world that people are systematically being purged from the region where their families have lived for millennia simply for their faith. It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with them in defense of the freedom of religion and conscience, and provide them with whatever relief we can."

Those wishing to assist with the relief efforts can donate to K of C Christian Refugee Relief by visiting www.kofc.org/Iraq, or by sending checks or money orders to: K of C Christian Refugee Relief, Knights of Columbus Charities, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966.

Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100 percent of all donations collected by Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., will be used for humanitarian assistance for Christians and other religious minorities being persecuted or displaced in Iraq and the surrounding regions.

The Knights of Columbus has a long history of providing humanitarian relief and has done so following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; last year's typhoons in the Philippines; hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy; nationwide tornadoes; flooding in Mexico; and tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan.

In addition, the Knights of Columbus has also long supported persecuted Christians. Throughout the 1920s, the Knights provided humanitarian assistance and created international awareness of the persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization with more than 1.8 million members worldwide.