How do you measure hope? I am not sure of the answer, but Father Massimo Fussarelli, OFM recently visited Goma in the Northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The refugees there are trying to “measure hope,” which is something that remains beyond their sight. I am sure of this. It is YOUR immeasurable goodness and generosity that give the gift of hope to countless children such as those little ones who live in extreme poverty and misery.

Fr. Massimo is the Minister General of our Franciscan Order. Recently, he visited our missionary friars in Saint Benedict the African Franciscan Province. These friars serve a refugee camp with 75,000 people on the outskirts of the city of Goma, the main city of Kivu, the large eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This area near the border with Rwanda has experienced a quiet war that has been going on for almost 30 years now, and the people who suffer the most are women and children.

Fr. Massimo and our other missionary friars arrived at the camp in front of a large depression in the ground, which was full of refugees. It was time to distribute a bowl of rice to each of the children. Amid the dust and rubbish of this great pit were human beings, I repeat human beings, queued up and shouting for a handful of rice!

Our friars have seen this scene many times in their lives as Franciscan missionaries. But as Fr. Massimo said, “Each time I experience this level of suffering, it’s still like taking a punch in the stomach.”

The children got in close and surrounded the friars and sisters as they began to distribute cooked rice. Fr. Massimo was overwhelmed by little hands that wanted contact. Some of the children were alone, orphaned or abandoned at birth, perhaps the result of the violence that takes place in this land.

The children noticed Fr. Massimo was inexperienced, so many tried to get into his line hoping they would get a little more rice. He tried to fill each container with as much as he could, while praying there would be enough for all.

These people used to live with dignity and safety in their villages and grew crops. They were driven out by the war, by the violent raids of the various armies, and by the large companies that burn land to deforest and exploit the rich ground.

This border area is rich in resources and attracts the attention of many in the world who want to benefit from rare earth minerals. One of them is Coltan. Our mobile phones would not work without it, and Coltan is abundant there.

Refugees have fled the border area to the relative safety of refugee camps that surround Goma. There are over a million refugees there!

You and I can scarcely imagine what it would be like to live in a refugee camp, not knowing if you can get food to survive another day or enough clean water for your basic needs.

But these children experience it every day of their lives and can only dream of a better future.

Will you join us to offer a good measure of hope and promise to the refugee children? Your generous support now could mean the difference between life and death for children, for young mothers, and for families!

This is a forgotten war, unfortunately one of many. The poor always pay the greatest price. Fr. Massimo left the refugee camp wondering how much longer these children would have to suffer. He remembers shouting within himself: “Until when, Lord?”

Fr. Massimo emailed our office as soon as he got back to Goma and requested an emergency grant to help pay to feed and care for these suffering children and families.

This is why I am writing to you today. Our missionary friars are completely dependent upon your generous support and prayers to serve the poor in the missions.

Please offer your best gift today to help Fr. Massimo and our other missionary friars bring a measure of Christ’s hope to the poor, suffering refugees from this forgotten war.

Please DonateSelect [24A6CR] Give The Gift of Hope to Countless Children – Goma Refugees

Thank you for your generous support to help many who are poor and forgotten, especially in Africa.

With a hopeful heart,

Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM

Executive Director

P.S. Much like the people of the Old Testament, the poor refugees of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo long for hope. They hope for a better tomorrow for their children in ways that you and I can scarcely imagine. Please share generously today with those who have little but hope.