The life of Saint Anthony of Padua is a model for you and me, especially his work with the poor. St. Anthony’s life is what every Christian’s life is meant to be: a steady courage to face the ups and downs of life; a call to love and forgive; a concern for the needs of others; the patience to deal with crises great and small; and a total trust in God. Today, as in St. Anthony’s time, many people are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty. Because of St. Anthony’s extraordinary love for the poor, which he often expressed by feeding the hungry, “St. Anthony’s Bread” has been the term used for offerings made in response to God’s call to serve the poor. Will you give a gift of Saint Anthony’s Bread?
In Honor of St. Anthony
My heart aches for those whose lives are in crisis because of natural disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic, war, and the misery that is caused by extreme poverty. I am asking you to answer the call to serve people who have lost the ability to work and feed their families during the pandemic stay-at-home orders in the developing world. Will you join us in reaching out to thousands of children and families? Many are malnourished, and all are at risk of acquiring a disease of some type. Still, my heart rejoices because of kind–hearted people like you, whom God has also called to serve the poor.
The Demand Has Been Overwhelming
It is my hope and prayer that the new vaccines will soon make a difference for those of us lucky enough to live in the developed countries. But in the missions, it will be a long time before enough vaccines will be available for the poor. Before the stay-at-home orders, many people worked as day laborers to earn what little money they could, or they begged on the streets to be able to buy a little food. During this crisis, they have lost this opportunity, so their families are going hungry. To survive, many are coming to our missions for food to feed their families. The demand has been overwhelming. Will you make a gift of Saint Anthony’s Bread?
Please Join Us In Reaching Out
Many missionaries have sent us emergency requests for financial assistance to purchase more food to meet the increasing number of people seeking help. With that in mind, I am asking you to answer the call to serve the poor in honor of St. Anthony during this time of crisis. Will you join us in reaching out to the thousands of our sisters and brothers who are now unable to feed themselves or their families?
- Philippines – Father Percy Tayem, OFM from San Pedro Bautista Province in the Philippines has requested funds to help feed 2,000 poor families at seven parishes under the care of the Franciscans in that country. The friars will be delivering sacks of rice, other grocery items, and over-the-counter medications to the poorest families. He has requested an emergency grant of $35,000 to feed the 2,000 families. That is only $17.50 to help one family!
- Argentina – Father Alejandro Verón, OFM from the Province of the Assumption of Our Blessed Virgin of the La Plata River in Argentina has requested emergency funds to feed 5,000 people forced to live on the streets in Buenos Aires. Most are children. He has requested $27,545 to help buy food for these homeless children and an industrial washer and dryer to clean their clothing.
- India – The friars of Shalom Friary in Hyderbad, India, received emergency funds to help feed homeless migrants. These are individuals and families who left their villages in the country to find day labor in the city. Now that the India is locked down again, they cannot take a train to get back to their villages, and there is no longer any need for day labor. They are wandering the streets without shelter or resources. The friars, in cooperation with some local religious sisters, are providing one meal a day to feed 150 homeless migrants. It only costs $45 to feed 150 migrants per day!
- Brazil – Father Jose Francisco dos Santos, OFM and the other friars from the Province of Sao Paulo in Brazil are feeding 5,000 people a day! It is an overwhelming number, and they have also received an emergency grant from our office. In the center of Sao Paulo before the pandemic, the friars were feeding several hundred homeless people a day at what became known as the “Priests Tea.” But after the virus struck and a shutdown occurred, the daily number of people swelled to about 5,000, forcing our missionary friars to set up another distribution center known as the “The Franciscan Tent.” Can you imagine the additional costs of going from feeding a few hundred people every day to 5,000 a day! According to Fr. Jose, most of the people coming for food had recently lost their jobs due to the government shutdown. These efforts are being carried out under tremendous pressure, and everything possible is being done to protect the health and well-being of all involved. But we simply cannot stop providing food to people in desperate need of our help. Lives are at stake!
Please consider renewing your vital support of our Franciscan missionaries today. Give a gift of Saint Anthony’s bread, so we can continue to provide urgent humanitarian aid and HOPE to the poor in the missions. In the spirit of St. Anthony, thank you for sharing your bread so generously in the life-sustaining work of Franciscan missionaries.
Gratefully yours in Christ and St. Anthony,
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Franciscan missionaries are often the last, best hope for people struggling to survive the hardships of daily life at the missions. Please offer your best gift today and help us provide food to poor families, children, and the elderly. Thank you in advance for your renewed support and prayers.