Every Christmas we retell the story of how Mary and Joseph had to travel, how there was no room for them in the inn, and how their baby, Jesus, was thus born in a stable. Did you ever consider that the Holy Family’s plight is the world’s most famous account of homelessness?
Too many people served by our missionary friars in the village of Kurua in Assam, India, will know homelessness this Christmas.
The monsoon rains, earlier in the year, were torrential this season and the Brahmaputra river reached dangerous flood levels. The raging waters overflowed the river banks and pushed through this village of 6,000 families, which is a mile from the river. The flood waters washed away homes, personal belongings, and people. Many of the houses are still underwater. At least 100 villagers are known to have died in Assam, and many are still missing. The flood waters also carried away livestock and destroyed crops. The survivors are living along the roadsides under makeshift shelters and are in dire need of food, medicine, clean water, clothing, toiletries and other personal items.
Our missionary friars operate a parish church and a Franciscan high school a short distance from the village and are doing all they can to help the homeless flood victims. But resources are limited, and the need is great.
Father Singarayar, OFM and friars from Saint Anthony parish, Saint Francis of Assisi Mission Foundation, and St. Thomas the Apostle Province are providing the desperate children and families left homeless and isolated by this tragedy with emergency supply kits. The kits consist of rice, a variety of dried beans, cooking oil, salt, sugar, baby food, diapers and sanitary supplies, mosquito repellent and other items. Each kit costs about $25. Fr. Singarayar has sent out an urgent request to the worldwide Franciscan Order for support in this relief effort for the survivors of the flood!
The Christmas message of hope is needed now more than ever for these sisters and brothers in Assam, India. You can bring them hope. You can help them survive this natural disaster! Could you offer a special gift to help Fr. Singarayar and our Franciscan missionaries ease the suffering caused by this flood?
It is only due to the generosity of friends like you that we are able to serve some of the poorest people in our world. But while their needs sometimes seem endless, they still cling to hope. Consider how, when asked how she was, one of the homeless flood survivors responded, “I am blessed. I woke up this morning.” Even though she awakened under a cold, wet tarp on the side of the road, she felt “blessed.”
“Blessed” indeed are we all. Will you share some of your material blessings during this holy season so that others can receive what they need to make it through the day? Please do it in honor of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the most well-known homeless family in all of history.
A blessed Christmas to you,
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Thank you for your generosity to Franciscan missionaries all through the year. Will you please be generous once again as Christmas approaches and help the homeless victims of the monsoon flooding in Assam, India? It is only because of friends like you that we can serve people in great need. God bless and keep you and your loved ones.