Updated: Mar 4, 2020
Mexico City, March 2020
Dear Friends, peace,
Today, Ash Wednesday, I reminded the community at Mass that Lent is a time of conversion: conversion away from the bad things in our life, and conversion towards God. Our whole world – just like each and every one of us – is in need of conversion.
I recently met with the leaders of the School of the Faith from Cuba and Nicaragua. The Church there is still actively persecuted by the authorities. In Cuba our co-workers are shadowed by the police, books and pen drives are confiscated, e-mail is monitored. In Nicaragua our classes have to meet in secret, since in many places the government has forbidden gatherings of more than five people.
Passing over to Africa, a month ago the Diocese of Sokoto in northern Nigeria asked us to begin the School of the Faith there. A week later, four of their seminarians were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists, and one of them was murdered. A whole world in need of conversion.
But conversion comes with hard work, one heart at a time. Work like that of the Full-Time Catechists we support, who bring the Good News to places “angels fear to tread.” In November we had two different benefit activities for them. Work also like that of the Missionary Fathers of Charity, founded by Mother Theresa, who bring the Good News – and dignity – to the homeless in Mexico City.
Despite all the horrors of this world, there is a great deal of light. You can see some of it in the picture report I am sending with this letter. Special thanks to all of you who donated for Bibles and mattresses for the School of the Faith in Zambia, southern Africa. It made a huge difference and we will continue to send Bibles as funds are available, especially to Mansa diocese.
As I write, our donation accounts are empty and we have been unable to send the monthly support of $500 for the months of January, February and March that we always send to the catechists in El Salvador. This money is used primarily to pay for the housing, food and health insurance of the catechists, their spouse and children while they dedicate their time to evangelization. If you can help, even just covering a day’s expenses of $15, it would be a great relief.
But more importantly: during Lent, I would like to invite you to support “conversion” in the places where the Church is persecuted, by joining our team in praying the prayer on the enclosed card. That is something each and every one of us can do! Count on my prayers for you and your family,