While I was growing up, we lived in a humble housing unit modeled after a military barracks. Our home was always full with my parents and 8 children living under the same roof. As a child, I did not know enough to ask why we did not have central heating, but only a kerosene-fired stove in the living room. It was a delight to pay a visit to my grandparents’ house where there was a tub in the bathroom, something we did not have in our house. Communication with our neighbors was easy enough through the flimsy walls between units.
So, our tiny unit was filled with 10 people. But every now and then, another person moved in with us without any explanation from my parents. Over the years, there were two young adult women that I remember well. As a child, it was always fun to have another person around, especially since they took care of me when my parents were at work. Both women made great peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for me.
It was not until many years later that I found out that Mom and Dad took in the women because their own homes were places of violence and abuse. Without knowing it, from a very young age, my parents taught us to live the message of the Gospel: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me.” My parents taught us this valuable, lifelong lesson by their actions, without using any words.
You too have modeled these words to Franciscan missionaries in over 100 countries. Through your generosity, the friars have been able to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the abandoned of this world. Your sharing the love of Jesus Christ with people in need is the Gospel in action, with no words needed. My words to you are: “Thank you!”
You have extended the hands of our caring, compassionate God to the poorest of the poor. In this newsletter, you will find a summary of the work of Franciscan missionaries in 2018. Over 100 missions benefited from your charity this year. I hope to provide a snapshot of the people and places you have touched.
Please know of our gratitude for your kindness and generous support of our mission. May 2019 be filled with many blessings for you and your loved ones.
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM