Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference. A bar of soap. A facemask. A simple daily meal on days that one would otherwise be without food. These are just some of the concerns Maryknoll lay missioners have been adding to their ministries in order to respond to the many new urgent needs they observe around them.
In Bolivia, missioners are cooking and distributing daily meals to long lines of people who have lost their livelihoods during the pandemic or are living on the streets. In Kenya, Tanzania, Brazil and El Salvador missioners are helping their communities reduce the risk of hunger with urgently needed emergency food deliveries. In Tanzania, Haiti, and Bolivia missioners are involved in projects that make protective masks and they are holding educational events on the prevention of COVID-19 infections. In Kenya, missioners are working with a parish in an informal settlement to provide care packages for local people that not only included food staples but also 7,000 bars of soap as well as educational materials about the importance of hand-washing.
These are just a few of the many ways missioners are putting their faith into action – working to build the capacity of local partners to address the needs of individuals and families living in extreme poverty, the young, the elderly and other vulnerable populations.
Each of us is called to respond to urgent global needs. In his new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis invites us to broaden our perspective of humanity, reminding us of our call to recognize each other as sisters and brothers and committing ourselves to a love without borders. “All of us have a responsibility for the wounded, those of our own people and all the peoples of the earth. Let us care for the needs of every man and woman with the same fraternal spirit of care and closeness that marked the Good Samaritan.” (Fratelli Tutti, #79)
The new pandemic-related ministries require Lay Missioners to expand our long-term ministries that range from education and leadership development, to searching for sustainable solutions to food insecurity and assuring access to quality healthcare and wellness practices. We cannot do it alone. Your support makes a big difference.
We are currently facing difficult financial challenges, resulting from this unprecedented global crisis. We are experiencing a loss of revenue—over $380,000—because of decreased donations. And we have been unable to conduct parish mission talks, which in normal years provide a significant part of our funding.
On the other hand, because of the pandemic, we have had to increase our expenses for items like emergency travel for missioners, technology, additional sanitation supplies and personal protection equipment. In addition to lost revenue and increased expenses, COVID-19 has prevented us from sending a new class of missioner candidates for the first time in our 45-year history.
Yet we remain hopeful. Our lay missioners and their communities are creatively responding together to the challenges of this unprecedented time. We have 11 candidates currently participating in a virtual discernment and orientation process in preparation to be sent in 2022. And we are finding new ways to make up for some of the shortfall in donations through virtual gatherings of our wider community.
You have been generous to us in the past, for which we are most grateful. If you are able at this time, we ask that you please consider increasing your donation to help us through this crisis and help us alleviate the shortfall in funding. We are incredibly blessed to have a $50,000 matching gift. This means that your increased contribution will be doubled dollar for dollar! Please help us exceed the goal. For your convenience, here is a list of ways you can donate: