Retired priest: Help those in the Tigray region


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Fr. Kneemiller

DAVENPORT — Father William Kneemiller was upset to learn that war’s violence halted food aid to hungry people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The disruption of aid from the United States, United Nations and USAID has led to starvation. After reading the OSV News article in The Catholic Messenger last month, he wondered what he could do. “They need help.”

Father Kneemiller called Deacon Kent Ferris, director of Social Action for the Diocese of Davenport, to see what could be done. That led to a conversation with Archbishop-elect Thomas Zinkula and a decision to encourage people to support their brothers and sisters in need in the northern Tigray region through Catholic Relief Services (CRS). “They know what they are doing,” Deacon Ferris said.

“It would be a huge help,” Father Kneemiller said, if Catholics from Iowa’s four dioceses donated $1 million for assistance in that region. “I believe we can do it,” he added, based on his work with groups to assist people in need in Haiti and El Salvador to alleviate their suffering.


Norma Valdez, an advisor with the partner/campaigner team of CRS in Texas, said CRS in Ethiopia has seen an escalation in conflict in the Tigray region. “Families continue to be in dire need in Ethiopia. With an estimated 200,000 people that were already in need of food, the conflict and pandemic has only exacerbated the ongoing threat families face in Ethiopia,” the CRS website states. “When you give, you provide immediate assistance for your brothers and sisters who face this new risk. You can provide shelter and water and sanitation kits — along with immediate food relief.”

Valdez said, “Many times there are delays due to wars and weather-related issues, which are issues out of our control.” But when it is safe, aid agencies will go into the region. She believes drought and famine are worsening not just in Africa but all over the world.

To learn more about CRS and the countries it serves, visit To donate, visit

ways-to-give, which provides options for electronic, check and other types of donations. Or, send a check to the Diocese of Davenport and write Ethiopia on the memo line. The diocese will forward funds to CRS.

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *