Since 2005, the second Sunday of Lent has been dedicated to the concrete support of the missions, both through prayer and fasting, and through fundraising in the parishes. Last year, over 1.4 million PLN were raised, with which the missionaries carried out 99 evangelization, educational, medical and charity projects.
The slogan of this year’s „Ad Gentes” Fundraising Day is „Let’s live the Eucharist”. It reminds us that the Eucharist is a school of love for neighbor, solidarity and mercy and that the horizon of love that the Eucharist outlines before us reaches the ends of the earth. For this reason the missionaries, nourished by the Eucharist, constantly serve the poor and the suffering and ask for respect for the dignity of every human being.
Missionaries need our spiritual and financial support. The time of Lent is the time of sharing. With the fruit of our fasting and renunciation, we can feed the hungry, clothe the naked and console the afflicted.
The coronavirus pandemic that broke out last March caused a slowdown and sometimes made missionary ministry impossible in many countries, but missionary work has not stopped. More and more people in need are turning to missionaries for help to meet their basic needs.
Accepting the requests for help from Polish missionaries, the Polish Episcopal Commission for Missions and the Relief Work „Ad Gentes” has set up a special aid fund for the pandemic. In a short time, over 2.6 million PLN were donated for the purchase of food, medicines, personal hygiene products, disinfectants and masks.
During Lent, for the second consecutive year, the Relief Work „Ad Gentes”, in collaboration with Fr Maciej Jaworski, a Discalced Carmelite, organizes the „Houses for the Pygmies” campaign in Burundi. Last year, funds were donated for the construction of 12 houses measuring 7 by 5 meters with 4 rooms: a room for the parents, a room for the girls, a room for the boys and a common room. There are no bathrooms, because there is no access to water, no kitchen, because the meals are prepared on the fire outside. Also this year, thanks to the financial support they will receive, new homes will be built between April and September. It is not just about a roof over our heads, but also about restoring human dignity to these families who are actively involved in building new homes. Their contribution is their terrain and its preparation for construction, which, given the country’s mountainous nature, is a difficult and demanding job. The family will also produce clay blocks and provide water for the construction site. The house will be built with local labor, so that the funds for the construction of the houses will also be used to provide local work – writes Father Maciej
The housing program is followed by literacy and learning the basics of agriculture and livestock. To begin with, each family will receive a goat.
In honor of John Paul II, the Relief Work „Ad Gentes” on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of the Great Polish Pope financed the construction of a chapel dedicated to him in Lomé, Togo and co-financed a parish church in Minkama, in Cameroon, which includes 12 villages.
The first and most important way to help missions is through prayer and spiritual sacrifices. Prayer protects missionaries and is the source of their evangelizing power. Thanks to his strength they are able to resist in difficult missionary conditions.
The second way to help the missions is through financial and material commitment. Financial aid is essential so that missionaries can respond to multiple needs, through evangelization, charitable, educational and medical activities. Without our support, sharing what we have, missionaries will not be able to help the needy, the sick, the elderly and orphans.
For further information and indications on the possibilities of making donations, consult the website of the Commission for Missions of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on the website: http://www.misje.pl/
Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference