February 22, 2015
It is good to get back to the cold weather after toasting myself in an oven of 30 C every day. Thanks to all of you for keeping the parish alive during my vacation. Thank you Fr. Albert, all the volunteers and staff of our parish. My family and the needy people back home also thank you for helping them with your gifts.
We just started our 2015 Lenten season on Ash Wednesday. The purpose of Lent is to prepare catechumens for baptism and to prepare us for making new, our baptismal commitments and celebrating the joy of Easter through the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Traditionally, three things we should do during Lent: Praying, Fasting and Almsgiving. As the TIA campaign (Together In Action-Annual Bishop’s Appeal) begins this Sunday I’d like to focus on almsgiving and remind you that charity is not an option, but it is our Christian duty. Sometimes we say that we are not wealthy enough to put aside something to help others; we have to have some savings for the rainy day, etc. I have abandoned that thought since I had contact with the less fortunate.
When I was at St. Mary’s Cathedral, I saw hundreds of people lining up at noon, no matter how cold the weather was, in order to get in for a decent meal at 4 pm, the meal you and I could afford anytime. Comparing to some others, you and I might not have much in life, but when I went to my homeland, I saw some heartbreaking things that made me sad. For instance, my neighbor lives in a hut on the edge of my family’s farm. He cannot afford to send his children beyond elementary school. They have to work at a very young age. One day the mother and four young children, the oldest was twelve, came to me and asked for a job. I told her that her children should be in school and she answered that they did not have enough food for the day, how could they go to school? Something like that makes me feel that I am well blessed and I have to share with others.
The Together In Action (TIA) is a program to help us help others. Our bishop, in the name of all Catholics in southern Alberta, encourages us to look after the less fortunate around us through different charitable agencies. Catholic Charities serves the terminally ill, the elderly and homebound, the abused, the impoverished, the refugees, the new immigrants, the hungry, the discriminated and the exploited, the addicted and the homeless, the unborn and the unwanted, the lonely and the bereaved. We, as a Catholic parish, will respond generously to the appeal of our bishop. The needy are waiting for us. The word of Jesus is ringing continuously in our ears: 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Mt. 25: 40
Western Canadian Catholic stewardship conference June 12-14, 2015