Archbishop Cordileone regarding San Rafael-based Roots of Peace Workers and Cajon Valley High School Students Trapped in Afghanistan

I just got off the phone with Heidi Kuhn.  She is the founder of the San Rafael-based Roots of Peace, a nonprofit that works in Afghanistan to remove landmines and use the ground to help local farmers grow produce, lifting them out of poverty.  The Roots for Peace compound was overrun by the Taliban.  They have hundreds of Afghan employees who are stranded, and the organization has been given just hours to get them out of the country.  If they fail, many innocents will be murdered.

The crisis unfolding in Afghanistan as we speak is unspeakably sad and horrifying.  It is also unspeakably urgent that we call in solidarity for action by the U.S. government to protect these people.  I ask all of our national political leaders to do whatever they can.  Heidi Kuhn also requests donations to help, and I have personally made one at

For all Catholics, I am requesting your urgent prayers to Our Lady of Sorrows on behalf of these workers.  This is just one tragedy of many that will unfold as Christians along with Muslim Afghans who worked with Americans are targeted by the Taliban.

At the same time, please pray for the school students from the Cajon Valley School District who travelled for a summer experience in Afghanistan, relying, one supposes, on the well-meaning reassurances that all would be well.  They are now trapped according to reports in the media (see  Personally, this starts to hit close to home for me as I have four cousins who attended schools in the Cajon Valley School District years ago.  I ask for your prayers that these American children will be rescued from grave danger, along with their parents and chaperons.

In dark and dangerous times, Christ Jesus gives us the courage to hope.