Roman Catholic 
Diocese of Ogdensburg

Past Mission Columns

Mission Column September 15, 2021

The Abbreviated Summer Games

It has been customary for us to dub our summer recreation program THE OLYMPIC GAMES.  This year, they really were Olympian, in a certain sense.  After over a month of planning, organizing, and getting all the materials for the games, we began them just after the fourth of July.  As it turned out, that’s also when we ended them.  We had “burritos” for lunch, since the food bank gave us about a hundred tortillas.  We were riding high all morning long!  Then came the afternoon events.  The main act there was by the Ministry of Education.  They showed up to congratulate us on our organization, and at the same time to tell us that we couldn’t continue the games because of the pandemic.  So, we accomplished the Olympic feat of setting up the games, playing for an entire morning, enjoying our introduction to the “burritos,” and wrapping things up.  We console ourselves knowing that as soon as we get the go-ahead, we have everything ready for the next round of games.  [The original story included an image of the games showing students spread out and masked at the event.]              

As summer ends, daylight gets shorter and leaves begin to drop, we dread the coming of the darkness of winter.  There is so much bad news that adds to the darkness each day: the virus, the fires, natural disasters, conflicts, etc.  Your contributions to Lenity Inc. help us keep something bright and positive going and growing.  The hope you provide to our mission in Ecuador, with your gifts, allow the poor families to have dreams and access to tools to become positive agents of change in this small corner of the world.  We are most grateful to you and ask God to bless you and your families.  The “Olympic torch” in Quinto at the Foundation has not been put out thanks to your help.    Thank you…… from the desk of Madre Cindy.  

-Update on Lenity Project’s operations in Quinto, Peru courtesy of Sister Cindy Sullivan.  

Mission Column September 8, 2021

Photo Reflection    

  “My absolute personal favorite is the little girl at the dump, looking up at me and thanking me for coming back to feed her (and hundreds of others).  She says, "I had hoped you would come back"!  A couple days previous to that photo, she came up to me and grabbed me around the knees, pleading with me to feed her.  I truly sobbed and told her the truth, i.e., I didn't have any food that day but would try to help soon.”  Image and story courtesy of Sister Debbie Blow of Mission of Hope 

Mission Column September 1, 2021

Well wishes

     ​This has been a long and trying few years for all of us, and our school systems have been particularly hard hit.  Teachers and administrators have had restructure and rethink how they were going to continue teaching our children in a safe yet effective manner.  While things haven’t always worked out as planned, plans have had to change last minute, and new unforeseen challenges have arisen in the midst of every other hardship, they have risen to the challenge.  They have done their best to keep our children both safe and educated.  

     This school year is starting off much the same as the last, and while things aren’t looking up, it does not mean that this year won’t provide many opportunities to grow in ways that none of us could imagine.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and the Mission Office would like to wish all teachers and students returning to school in the coming weeks a healthy and fulfilling school year- whatever it is that school year brings.  We are especially thankful to the faculty and staff of our Catholic schools for their continued commitment to spread knowledge and the faith to the youth of our diocese.  

For more information on the Mission Office’ Missionary Childhood Association (MCA) “children helping children” appeal, please visit

Mission Column August 25, 2021rorists" for giving water and food to militiamen

Fellow Prisoner Keeps Hope Alive 

     "What can we all do together to help Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez in the hands of the kidnappers for 4 years and 6 months"? writes the Canadian Edith Blais who shared 5 months of imprisonment in the hands of jihadists together with the Colombian nun of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and who managed to escape in March 2020 from the terrorist group GSIM (Group for the support of Islam and Muslims) who kidnapped her in Burkina Faso in December 2018. 

     The note sent to Fides through Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, a priest of the Society for African Missions kidnapped by jihadist militiamen on September 17, 2018 and released on October 8, 2020, is full of hope and at the same time of concern for the fate of the nun of whom, after more than 4 years there is still no news. 

     "She shared everything she had with me", said the Canadian. "Sister Gloria helped me a lot during my imprisonment in the desert. She is a great woman and it saddens me to know that it is precisely this characteristic that brought her to this hell. She has dedicated her life to helping others, travelling to poor and dangerous countries to support women and to look after the health of young children who probably would not have survived without this kindness". 

     "I would like to share a true story, a truth that unfortunately still exists today" - writes Edith who wanted to share her brief reflection to make Sister Gloria's reality visible to others. "She was working in an orphanage when a group of rebels broke in and demanded money. Unfortunately, the women who worked there did not have what the terrorists were looking for, living on next to nothing. Fearing that the attackers would harm her companions, she begged them to choose her if they wanted to hurt one of them, as she was the oldest of the four. They listened to her, and fled the orphanage taking her with them, heading into the desert on their motorcycles. It was a journey that lasted several days and will mark her forever. Sister Gloria is deeply affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and finds herself alone. Her suffering is great, but she remains strong and does not lose hope. She has always kept her faith in God, in life, in humanity. 

     The Canadian woman concludes her appeal by exhorting to continue "to keep alive the hope and story of Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, so that humanity can think of her and carry her in their heart, as I carry her in mine.”  (Article from FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies) 

Monk condemned as "supporter of terrorists" for giving water and food to militiamen

Mission Column August 11, 2021rorists" for giving water and food to militiamen

Mardin Criminal Court has handed down a 25-month prison sentence against the Syrian Orthodox monk Sefer Bileçen, finding him guilty of complicity with terrorist organizations and activities. The priest, a member of the Mor Yakup monastery in Nusaybin ([…]), had been arrested on January 9, 2020 along with two other people, accused of having offered help and cover to members of the People's Defense Forces (HPG), the military arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), classified as a terrorist organization by the Ankara government. 

The accusation, based mainly on images collected by drones used by the Turkish intelligence services to monitor the life of the monastery from above, attributes to the monk the responsibility of receiving HPG militiamen in the monastery for a few days at the end of September of 2018. On January 16, 2020, the monk had been authorized to leave prison pending trial, with the obligation not to leave his residence. 

During the trial, as reported by Agenzia Fides, several testimonies had confirmed that the alleged "complicity" contested by the Turkish authorities to the Syrian Orthodox monk consisted in simply offering food and drink to people who said they were hungry and thirsty. An HPG militiaman arrested in September 2019 by Turkish security forces had also confessed to having visited the Mor Yakup Monastery several times just to eat, drink and refresh. The monk Sefer Bileçen himself, in the testimony made public through his lawyers, confirmed that he had given food and water to the militiamen as a pure sign of monastic hospitality, reserved for anyone in need, without imagining that the people welcomed were members of HPG. "I will give food and water to anyone who comes to my door", Father Sefer had said during his statement. "I have to do it" he added "because of my spiritual and philosophical beliefs. And I cannot lie, because I am a monk and a priest".  

(Article from FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies)  

Mission Column July 28, 2021

The excitement of many following the easing of New York State’s Covid restrictions is almost palpable.  Walk into any grocery or department store and you will see more people than not wandering the aisles as they do their shopping, going both directions and with no face coverings.  While some still choose to wear masks for personal, health, or other reasons, many people are fully embracing the return to normalcy that so many have craved.              

This ability is owed, at least in part, to the sanitizing, personal protective equipment (ppe), and vaccinations that we in the United States have had the privilege to have in abundance.  Other, poorer, countries have not been so lucky.  

In the country of Nicaragua, the Covid situation has become increasingly worse over the past year.  There is no known vaccine available to the public.  Small, unsanitary shacks in the barrios often house extended families, making it nearly impossible for those living there to spread out.  This becomes particularly dangerous in the case that a family member becomes ill.  When the sick are referred from their local clinic to a hospital, they are often unable to make it to the city where the hospitals are located, even if doing so is the only thing that will keep them alive.  While the people of Nicaragua are doing their best to social distance, wear masks, and stay safe, the lack of access to medical care and the vast gulf between the rich and poor often makes a positive diagnosis a death sentence.  

In Ecuador the situation is no better.  Vaccines are slowly becoming readily available for the general population; however political corruption has made equal distribution a very difficult task.  Citizens are only allowed to leave their shacks Tuesday through Friday to prevent spread of the disease.  Many of the poorer population make their money by selling items in the streets.  This new requirement, therefore, does not allow them to make nearly enough money to provide themselves with the bare essentials, such as food and water, ppe notwithstanding.  As in Nicaragua, there is a lack of access to running water and ppe, which makes it almost impossible for both citizens and healthcare workers to protect themselves from contracting the virus.  The situation is so dire that many are stealing the coffins of the predeceased to bury their own loved ones.  

While we in the United States, and many other first world countries, are seeing a decrease in Covid cases, many of the world’s poorer countries are seeing the exact opposite.  As we embrace the return to our pre-Covid normalcy, it is important to remember that this pandemic is a global crisis.  Many of our brothers and sisters not only continue to suffer, but are suffering now more than ever.  We cannot leave them to suffer alone.  

(Information for this article is courtesy of Sister Cindy Sullivan, BVM of the Lenity Project and Sister Debbie Blow, OP of North Country Mission of Hope.)  

The Church sends to the Holy See Aid for Vaccines Against Covid to poor countries

Mission Column July 14, 2021

The Archdiocese of Seoul has sent US $ 1 million to the Holy See to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines for poor countries and populations in need. The donation is the result of a fundraising campaign carried out in the Archdiocese of Seoul: the campaign aimed to raise awareness among the faithful and all citizens to ensure equitable, timely and universal access to Covid-19 vaccines for all the countries of the world. Funds were raised by 234 parishes and organizations in Seoul at the initiative and coordination of the "One Body One Spirit Movement" ecclesial movement born on the occasion of the 44th International Eucharistic Congress held in Seoul in 1989. 

The initiative was launched in recent months in line with the exhortation of the Holy Father Francis to guarantee universal access to vaccines. For this reason, the Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) decided to launch the "Vaccine Sharing Campaign" at its general assembly last spring, held from 8 to 12 March. The campaign aimed to raise awareness and offer a direct contribution to help the universal distribution of vaccines in the world, especially in the poorest countries. The organizers recalled that Pope Francis and the Holy See have launched an appeal to the rich nations of the world to ensure that anti-Covid vaccines are available as soon as possible for people living in poor countries. 

Adding to this concern, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop of Seoul, launched a public appeal to raise funds encouraging the faithful to make donations. 

Fr. Matthias Young-yup Hur, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Seoul, stated in a message sent to Fides by the Archdiocesan Communication Office: "We are very concerned about the fact that the gap between rich and poor countries has widened during the coronavirus pandemic. All the faithful in Seoul sincerely hope that this fundraising campaign will be a small step to overcoming obstacles together". 

The campaign will last until November 27, 2021, the last day of the Jubilee of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean Catholic priest and patron saint of Korea. 

The organization is guaranteed above all thanks to the presence of the volunteers of the "One Body One Spirit Movement", committed to "working to create a world of peace according to the spirit of the Sacrament of the Eucharist". Started by the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan in 1988, the movement is now an active part of the Caritas Seoul network, and operates in many fields such as international development cooperation and social services.  (Article from FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies)  

Mission Office Annual Saint Peter Apostle Appeal

Mission Column June 30, 2021

Prayers and greetings to you as summer begins! How good to connect with you! Know that your prayers and assistance support the vast and great needs of the Mission Church as it provides pastoral care and the Lord’s compassion to the world’s most vulnerable communities.  

I write to you today about young men preparing to serve God’s people as priests in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and remote regions of Europe and Latin America. These current and future missionaries are lacking resources. However, they continue in hope – following where the Lord has called them, especially in these times of pandemic and recovery. 

For example, 2,600 seminarians are preparing for the priesthood in India. They join priests and religious who are on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, which is devastating that country. Many priests and Sisters have given their very lives in this service, victims themselves of the coronavirus. Seminarians in India have also at times faced strong opposition to Christianity. Yet, as one seminarian noted, “we are preparing to be courageous witnesses for Jesus Christ.” As priests, in their celebration of the Eucharist, they will make Christ present in His Body and Blood for the suffering, the persecuted, and the poor. 

With your help, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith/Society of St. Peter Apostle supports some 30,000 young men preparing for the priesthood in mission seminaries in India and throughout the Missions.  Your donation enables us to provide textbooks, technology, housing, food, and medical care – even at times, beds to rest from studies.  In this way, and with your prayers, you will genuinely join these young men as priests as they serve the poor, proclaim the Gospel, build the Church, and celebrate the Sacraments.  

These future priests and religious Sisters and Brothers will make Jesus, and His saving works known by their ministries because of your prayer, sacrifice, and devotion. My grateful heart acknowledges your generosity as well, assuring you of my prayers for you and your intentions, as I ask the Lord to be present in your own life’s journeys, as we all continue in hope.  Gratefully in the Lord, Sister Mary Ellen Brett, SSJ

Remembering the Priests and Nuns who Died While Caring for the Sick and Dying 

Mission Column June 26, 2021

The Catholic Church in India remembers the missionary commitment, the gift of oneself, the supreme sacrifice of priests and nuns who died of Covid-19 because they did not hesitate to perform their pastoral and social service in total dedication to the sick and the suffering. On May 30, 204 priests, 212 nuns and 3 bishops died. Suresh Mathew, Capuchin friar and Indian journalist, editor-in-chief of the English-language magazine "Indian Currents" was responsible for monitoring the situation at the national level and establishing the list of priests, nuns and bishops who died due to Covid-19. "Most of the priests and nuns who died were in rural areas to carry out the pastoral work and did not have access to timely health services", explains Father Mathew to Agenzia Fides.  


Many of them died while actively engaged in their ministry: "The sisters were infected while on duty in the hospital. Some priests performed funeral rites or administered the sacraments and gave spiritual assistance to the sick. And, once infected, many of our priests working in remote parts of the country did not have access to adequate hospital care. Perhaps, if they had been in cities with better health infrastructures, they would not have lost their lives", said the Capuchin friar. "They worked among the poor, the indigenous, the forgotten who did not have access or could not afford specialized care and hospitals. They remained by their side in difficulty, scarcity and destitution", he added. 

"They were people who, consciously, did not want to shut themselves up or isolate themselves, but wanted to continue their work, giving themselves, to bear witness to the merciful and compassionate face of God who looks at the suffering, even at the risk of their lives", he concludes. 

"We are all saddened by the death of so many nuns, brothers, priests and missionaries. We feel a lot of pain because we knew many of them", confirms to Fides Fr. Anand Mathew, a member of the Indian Missionary Society, a congregation that lost three priests "At the same time, we recognize and remember the death of many lay Christians and many young missionaries, as well as the sacrifice of people of various faiths, during the second wave of Covid", said Fr. Ananad Mathew, social worker and communications expert. 

Archbishop John Barwa, at the head of the community of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in Orissa, in eastern India, reports to Fides that his diocese has lost two priests due to Covid: "The priests were pioneers in the most remote missions in the Kingdom of God. The loss of such zealous missionaries is a great loss for the Church, for society and for the country". 

[…] "They died while carrying out their pastoral service and their mission. Their contribution to the Church and her mission will be remembered forever", notes Father Dibyasingh Parichha, priest and lawyer in Orissa. "We thank God for the gift of these people and, following their example, we promise to continue dedicating our lives to God, the Church and God's people, in love and service, especially during the period of the pandemic", concludes Fr. Parichha. (SD-PA) (Article from FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies)  

The “Eyes of God, the hand of hope”...

Mission Column June 9, 2021

Reflection courtesy of Sister Debbie Blow, OP of the North Country Mission of Hope 

There are defining moments in each of our lives. I believe there are also defining moments in the life of an organization. One of those moments is NOW for the North Country Mission of Hope. 
The World Food Program recently stated that 1.2 million Nicaraguan children in a country of 6 million, live in emergency conditions. At least 40% of our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters under the age of 5 are chronically malnourished.  

Located in what is called the “dry corridor” means that climate change is “climate shock” in Nicaragua, due to the fact that the country is repeatedly devastated by prolonged droughts followed by devastating hurricanes and flooding. Two massive hurricanes in late 2020 destroyed more than 60% of the crops. This is further impacted by 70% of Nicaragua being dependent on agriculture. Food costs in the last year alone have risen an estimated 40-80% if, and when, food is even available. Now add into the mix Covid, whereas of this past week, only 1.3% are vaccinated....and the socioeconomic and sociopolitical realities thrust our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters into life threatening insecurity.  

I invite you to look into the eyes of the child in the photo. This photo hangs on the wall in Sr. Stephanie’s bedroom. Sr. Stephanie’s defining moment on that first February Mission trip in 1999 was captured in this photo where she saw the “eyes of God” through this hungry child. Sister’s hand reaching out to feed this child, was a “defining moment of Hope” for all who witnessed that emotional encounter. 

Realization quickly set in for the North Country Mission of Hope, that our ability to make a difference would need to be a balance of emergency response AND long-term efforts to provide stability. 

Just a few weeks ago in 2021, families came to our facility to receive emergency supplies of food for very young children, disabled, and elderly. Behind their hand sewn masks are smiles of joy and gratitude because someone knows they are alive, someone cares. They are smiles of HOPE and they know that the Mission of Hope strives to be the “hands of Hope”. These families living on the fringes still reflect the eyes of God! Also note that the food supplied is very basic rice and beans and oil.  This program is separate from our long-term Feeding program for school age children where we feed almost 7000 daily.  

Food insecurity is an understatement in Nicaragua. The lives of our brothers and sisters are endangered. We need your generosity now. We need you to be the hand of Hope now....just as you have been over the past 23 years.  

Laudato Si in Nigeria 

Mission Column June 2, 2021

Here we can see how some of our Catholic brothers and sisters in Nigeria prepared for and spent the week of Laudato Si’s anniversary.  

"We will celebrate the Laudato Si anniversary to show how much things have changed for the good", says the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) Program Manager for Africa Fr. Benedict Ayodi a member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFMCap), on the occasion of Laudato Si Animators (LSA) online training course. Following Pope Francis’ invitation to all Catholics and people of good will to take part in Laudato Si’ Week (LSW) slated for May 16-25 to mark the sixth anniversary of the Encyclical letter, the global event will “celebrate” the improvements made so far towards nurturing the environment. Among the initiatives dedicated to Pope Francis' Encyclical on ecology, in Kenya the GCCM - Africa organized a Webinar focused on its impact on the continent led by GCCM, Association of Members of Bishops' Conferences in East Africa (AMECEA) and Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), as well as another Webinar on 'Living Laudato Sì in our daily life as Christians' organized by GCCM-Africa and Daughters of St. Paul (FSP). The week that will run under the theme “For we know that things can change” has various organized Webinars to enlighten the people on ecological conversion including among others critical opportunities in 2021 to create change, call for an integral path, dialogue on education, dialogue on energy and fossil fuels, sowing hope for the planet care prayer network and global action day for our common home. The document sent to Agenzia Fides shows that the week will also be a time to reflect on what Covid-19 pandemic has taught us and to offer a roadmap for the future with hope. "Even though we know that much still needs to be done, we rejoice and celebrate because in the last six years, the Church has made significant progress in the ecological conversion journey", said Fr. Ayodi addressing about 200 LSA. During the week, the GCCM "will present to the whole Church living testimonies of Laudato Si transformations so far and offer tools that will help everyone in the next step of the journey”.  (Article from FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies)  

On the occasion of Ramadan, Catholics in Karachi offer an Iftar meal to Muslim policemen and officials 

Mission Column May 26, 2021

The country of Pakistan has always had deep religious divides, but in this article from the FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, we see people putting aside their differences to show compassion and love.  

“We must show our love and solidarity to all the those who carry out their civic service and work during Ramadan, the month of Islamic fasting. Due to their work commitments, they cannot reach their family members to break the fast; many of them are officials of the security forces present on the streets and committed to protecting people. 

We wanted to show them a sign of unity of purpose, appreciate their courageous good works, and promote and strengthen interreligious harmony in the city": with these words Mansha Noor, Executive Secretary of Caritas in Karachi tells Fides the spirit that animates Catholic volunteers who are committed to serving free Iftar meal to about 150 Muslim officers and civil servants on duty in the street. 

Officials receive a box with the "Iftar" meal, the one with which the Muslim faithful break their daily fast in the evening, containing dates, rice, juices and other foods and drinks. Mansha Noor says, "for the second consecutive year in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are reaching out to the security forces and civilian military officers serving in the surrounding areas of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi. 

These operators appreciate our initiative, which we carry out with the help of Christian volunteers, but also Hindus and Muslims". In addition, Mansha Noor informs Fides: "This year also partner organizations Master Peace Karachi, Antim Yatra Seva Samaj, Ahsas Insaniat Welfare Community Services and Salvation Army Church have supported our initiative. The Islamic month of Ramadan is a favorable time to share love with our Muslim brothers and reach them with initiatives of spiritual and material closeness, in full solidarity, to give a sign of coexistence in society and build a better Pakistan". (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 12/5/2021)

Monsignor Kieran Harrington of Diocese of Brooklyn Named National Director of theNational Pontifical Mission Societies

Mission Column May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON – Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington of the Diocese of Brooklyn, has been named the new national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The appointment was made by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. 

Monsignor Harrington succeeds Father Andrew Small, OMI, who is completing his second five-year term. Monsignor Harrington has served as vicar for communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn since being appointed to the role in 2006 by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. In this role, Monsignor Harrington has been responsible for overseeing the diocesan public information office, government affairs and public policy office, NET, the cable station of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and The Tablet newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Monsignor Harrington is the rector of the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Brooklyn and graduated with honors from St. John’s University with a degree in philosophy. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and a Master of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business. 

“I am humbled by the trust placed in me to serve the Church in this most important area of missionary evangelization,” said Monsignor Harrington. “I look forward to working with the bishops and dioceses to support the pastoral work of the pontifical missions.” Father Small warmly welcomed the news of Monsignor Harrington’s appointment, adding, “Having gotten to know Monsignor Kieran over the last ten years, I am delighted that someone of such ability and passion has been chosen as the next National Director of the Holy Father’s mission societies.”

The Pontifical Mission Societies are organizations that are under the direction of the Holy Father.  Their purpose is the promotion of a universal missionary spirit among all baptized Catholics.  There are four societies: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious.  These four societies each received the title “pontifical” in 1922 to indicate their status as official instruments of the pope and of the universal Catholic Church. The national director heads the four societies in the United States and oversees the World Missions Sunday Collection, which is taken up on the third Sunday of October each year. For more information, please visit  (Press release courtesy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.)  

The Pontifical Mission Societies Celebrates its 199th Year 

Mission Column May 12, 2021

(Article from FIDES missionary news service of the Pontifical Mission Societies)  

     May 3, 2021 the Society for the Propagation of the Faith celebrated the 199th anniversary of its founding and the 99th anniversary of its recognition as "Pontifical". Despite the challenges with which the mission is also confronted in times of the pandemic, the anniversary is cause for joy with a view to the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of this Society at the service of world mission in 2022. In a message sent to the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Father Tadeusz J. Nowak, OMI, Secretary General of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, wrote: "Thank you for your generous and valuable service to the mission entrusted to us by the Holy Father, inspired by our beloved foundress, Pauline Marie Jaricot. May the Lord bless us all so that we may continue to respond to the vocation that Pauline courageously accepted in devoting her life to evangelizing the world so that the gospel can take root in every country and culture to the ends of the world". He then invites to offer the following prayer: "Lord, you inspired Pauline-Marie Jaricot to found the Propagation of the Faith and the Living Rosary, as well as her total commitment to the cause of the workers. Hasten the day when the Church will be able to celebrate the sanctity of her life. May her example lead a large number of Christians to dedicate themselves to spreading the Gospel, so that the men and women of our time and all the peoples of the world may discover your infinite love manifested in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen". 

     The Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith was founded in Lyon in 1822 with the aim of promoting missionary cooperation in all Christian communities through prayer and material support. Pauline Marie Jaricot, foundresse of the then "Association of the Propagation of the Faith" and of the "Living Rosary", she was born on July 22, 1799 in Lyon, where she died on January 9, 1862, in poverty. On May 3, 1922, Pope Pius XI elevated the Society for the Propagation of the Faith founded by Jaricot, to "Pontifical", together with the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood and the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, and moved the headquarters from Lyon to Rome. Pope John XXIII declared Pauline Jaricot venerable on January 25, 1963. On May 26, 2020, Pope Francis confirmed the miracle attributed to her intercession. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 4/5/2021)

Mission Column May 5, 2021

Dear Friends,  

Our Mission in Quito, Ecuador serves poor families who need a hand up.  Families, like so many in Ecuador and elsewhere, are trying to eke out an existence selling whatever they can in the streets.  The competition for selling items in the street is very high.  Most cannot make ends meet.   The pandemic is still rampant and of course the poor are hit the hardest.  Our mission in Quito gives a ray of hope to poor families.  We provide: food, educational opportunities, medical care, attend to spiritual needs and a sense of belonging to the member families. The programs we have respect social distancing until the people can get vaccinated.  Vaccines have not been made available but, a vaccine from China, has arrived in the Country. Our mission will expand programs as soon as the virus no longer dictates the way of life.  Until then, we will continue to provide the care that we can, to help families have confidence to look forward to becoming the agents of change to help each other out of their poverty. The following letter is from Fr. John Halligan, SJ.  He is from the Province of New England.  Padre has been serving the poor in Ecuador since 1962.  You can take the boy out of the Bronx but not the Bronx out of the man.  -Sister Cindy Sullivan members and those suffering from unemployment and illness.    

From the desk of Padre.

Dear Folks, 

Lent is over. I didn't make and as usual not keep my penance type resolutions this time around. It was honest and enlightening enough to think about and pray for all the victims of the virus. Ecuador can't afford to develop or buy preventives, but it has a big force of heroic citizens risking themselves to save victims. This awareness keeps the mystery of heroic suffering with Jesus in mind and calls for imitation. We know that Jesus, who is all love, lets us share in His agony of forty days in the desert and His crucifixion to balance our score for justice's sake. He wants us to join with Him in getting the human family to Heaven. But that doesn't cancel out joy right here and now. Easter's here with a spring in our every step. Bright gratitude scatters all the dark and fearsome. All bad is forgiven. Tell everyone.  Even the evil virus, handled with love, becomes an instrument of Jesus-like generosity to others.   Here in South Quito, like I suppose happens in innumerable places around the world, the poverty has gained extra deadly strength from the virus. Nights of cold sleep separate full days of standing with junk to sell or just begging in the gutters between rows of cars with not enough customers buying or benefactors tossing coins. Dirt poor Ecuadorian citizens are joined by Venezuelan immigrants with mutual sympathy and no resenting foreign invasion of the work site. Against that background, the very little help that our Working Families Foundation can give is not only not resented but even deeply appreciated. This mutual understanding is living Christ's love in us all.   In our desire and determination to improve things, there's reason why we don't lose mind and heart. We have been meeting with other social work nuts like ourselves and planning to combine our programs very soon into more widely effective changes. For instances: there's a priest who wants to share some empty land where we can start technical education for good jobs and there's a sister who has contact with professionals who are serving but need more efficient ways. And, of course, there are the crowds of poor we have contact with who gratefully wait for God to change things because we tell them you will help bring his evidence of loving salvation.   As usual, thanks for the confidence. God Bless. John Halligan, S.J.  

Hope is Alive

Mission Column April 28, 2021

 Below you will find part two of the letter sent to us from the North Country Mission of Hope.  Part one was featured last week.    

D.  Education sponsorships:  Close to 700 children are being sponsored through our regular education program in more than 15 small poor schools in the barrios.  In addition, over 100 girls are also being educated thanks to a Buddhist Global Relief grant we have received.  Over 100 children are also being supported within our OHP program (Orphans' Hope Program) in 4 orphanages, as well as 110 HIV children in foster homes where we partner with Caritas Nicaragua and Cardinal Brenes. Hope is alive.   

E.  Home Shelters:  You will be amazed to know that 25 home shelters will be constructed for homeless families between now and the end of June thanks to the donations of many.  Shelters are desperately needed because of the 2 devastating hurricanes that struck Nicaragua in November. Our one room small shelters are like mansions to the extremely poor families in Nicaragua.  Hope is alive.   

F.  Fuller Empowerment Program:  We also have a program funded by the Fullers who coordinate various education endeavors which may also lead to ways of employment.  Hope is alive.   

G.  ECO water tanks and latrines:  And yes, we are continuing the ecological efforts of constructing latrines and setting up water tank systems.  Right now, we are in the midst of doing this for a family with two severely disabled children.  Many of the schools we support already have the water tanks we've provided...and hope is alive.   

H.  Food insecurity:  Due to the ongoing Covid pandemic in Nicaragua as well as the sociopolitical upheaval in the country, thousands of our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters struggle to find food.  In spite of the general collapse of the economy, we are still feeding over 6700 children every single day. In addition, we are providing emergency food rations to over 145 families which include disabled children, elderly family members and those suffering from unemployment and illness.   

So, lest you thought we were just vegetating at home during COVID, I assure you we are not.  While we've been unable to travel to Nicaragua due to the political unrest, our projects and programs continue.   MOHtown, the name we call our warehouse in Peru, is now open once again.  Hours will be 9-noon on Wednesdays and all COVID protocol will be enforced.  You should also be aware that even while our warehouse has been officially closed for a few months, we have continued to network with local families and healthcare folks to provide needed medical equipment and supplies on many different levels.  YES, hope is alive.  AND, at the end of April, we will be shipping a 40’ container of equipment and supplies to Caritas Puerto Rico.  The contents will be distributed to those in greatest need.    On behalf of all served by the North Country Mission of Hope, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for all of your prayers and financial support.  Sr. Debbie Blow, OP- Executive Director     

Hope is Alive

Mission Column April 21, 2021

As we enter Spring and the Easter Season of 2021, much has changed in our lives over the past year or more.  Here’s a glimpse of some of what the North Country Mission of Hope has been doing over the past few months.       

Relief efforts for Texas:  To date, we have received over $4500 in funding to assist in recovery.  Our donations will be handled by the Houston Dominicans who live in the affected areas and will verify the needs. Hope is alive.    

Venezuela children suffer:  We are also assisting an orphanage in Venezuela which is struggling due to the political turmoil and the lack of food, or the astronomical costs for access to food. Along with the children at the orphanage, the Sisters are attempting to feed street people who are also very food deprived. We are wiring funds through a trusted contact of the Sisters of San Jose and all funds have been received to date.  We are working with the San Jose Sisters to facilitate the assistance to the children at their orphanages. Hope is alive.   Indeed, there is great need in so many places, and while the Mission cannot feed the entire world, we can offer hope to one heart at a time, where we can, when we can, because we can!!    

Nicaragua:  You might wonder what is the Mission of Hope up to these days in Nicaragua, since Nicaragua has been our primary mission site since 1998.    

A.  Another 4000 masks were made by local Nicaraguan women as well as over 1,000 bottles of sanitizer made by hand.  This brings our ongoing mask totals to 40,000 thus far.  These masks were distributed throughout our 13 poor communities known as barrios. Hope is alive.   B.  Our Mission of Hope clinic is operating, and we've recently added a part time Psychologist to assist with the increasing mental health issues among those who suffer so much illness, isolation, political turmoil, food scarcity and more.  So, at present within our own "small" Mission clinic, we offer general medicine, dental, eyecare and psychological services. And we continue to help fund a physical therapist to take care of the children at the disabled orphanage we sponsor. Hope is alive.    
C.  Lab in a Box program (which began as a partnership with the Dominican Friars at Providence College) and now continues on its own within the Mission of Hope, is held weekly on our property in Nicaragua.  Over 120 children and adults are taking classes on the weekends in a structure on our property which was built with funds from the Greg Pinard Estate (a man who died a few years ago and wanted us to continue to "make a difference".  Hope is alive.  

Please remember “The Society for the Propagation of the Faith” when writing or changing your Will.