Arecent article in The Post spoke of evidence that India's Catholic Church "misused" American food supplies {front page, May 25}. I am an American Jesuit priest who has been a member of "India's Catholic Church" for the past 40 years. I've been in the United States since April 25 and will return to India on June 20. The report was painful to read.

When it says that "some bishops, priests and nuns ... could have misused" American food supplies, the impression could be created that these same clerics and religious have personally benefited financially from these supplies. I think the word "misused" is poorly chosen. The fact is, the auditors found in some of the 4,600 centers receiving supplies that the books were not properly kept and the many detailed instructions issued were not followed perfectly. In most cases the food supplies have reached the poor, but the distributing agent didn't give a full report of the distribution, or the distribution was made in a way more adapted to the place and the needs of the people.

I have administered Catholic Relief supplies and have seen the good done by this help to people in need. I have seen farmers helped by the food-for-work projects, which provided wells in villages that had no source of drinking water. I have seen babies and mothers regain their health thanks to the mother-and-child-care program. Children without enough to eat at home have been able to get an education because along with reading, writing and arithmetic, they were given a meal when they came to school. These and many other relief and developmental projects have successfully aided the poor through the supplies given by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Are some supplies misused? Yes. Is the misuse widespread? No. Helping the poor effectively to raise their standard of living is not easy. Frequently the parish is the center of the CRS distribution work. Because of many other activities and obligations, the pastor entrusts much of the work to others, and since the food is to be given to all, irrespective of caste or creed, non-Christian organizations are also asked to help. Most distributors live up to the confidence placed in them, but some few don't and take advantage of their position. These few should be identified and corrected.

I have visited the CRS office in Baltimore and have been in contact with their personnel in India and know that they are examining the report of the auditors very carefully so that they can make the right changes.

There are thousands of honest administrators of CRS programs in India who are very careful to see that the supplies reach and help the poor. The food supplies should continue; they are a real help to the poor.

JOHN F. GUIDERA, S.J. Baltimore Iwas shocked by The Post's article titled "Clergy Said to Misuse Aid to India," because I know the conditions under which many of the clergy work in India and other developing countries. They live and work in areas where the poverty is so abject that few would choose even to visit such impoverished communities.

The people receiving food aid through India's Roman Catholic Church and Catholic Relief Services are often the poorest of the poor. Assuming that all the infractions cited in the article resulted in a 15 percent to 20 percent loss of food aid, The Post's Delhi correspondent, Price Waterhouse and U.S. officials fail to address the 80 percent to 85 percent of food aid that reached desperately poor women and children through the CRS program in India. A success rate of that magnitude would rank the CRS-India food aid program well above most international assistance programs and certainly well above our own savings and loan debacle.

Catholic Relief Services' commitment to assisting the developing world's poor is a matter of record; to fail to cite its long and successful history of service to mankind is a journalistic disservice. CHARLES SYKES Vice President of CARE Reston