Dear Parishioners and Benefactors:
May Christ’s peace and the joy of the Holy Spirit be yours in abundance.
At the beginning of Lent during this Holy Year of Mercy promulgated by Pope Francis, I come to you to ask for your participation in our Annual Project in favor of our Franciscan Missions in Central America. As you know, our Parish promotes this project that we call “Fasting for Love” to stress a two-fold meaning of the Christian fasting. Following the example of Jesus, we wish to minimize our attention to our bodily needs to become more receptive of the Gospel message, “One does not live of bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4)
As we abstain from material food, we are called to increase our spiritual nourishment by intensifying our prayer life, dedicating more time to the reading and meditation of the Holy Gospels, and sharing generously our spiritual and material resources with our sisters and brothers who are in dire need of spiritual and/or material food. The second purpose is to spend a couple of days (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) in solidarity with hundreds of millions of people, innocent children and forgotten elderly among them, who, not by their own choice, experience daily the torment of hunger. By fasting, we feel in our own body what they go through 365 days a year.
Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, warns us about not ignoring these little brothers of His with whom He identifies. Thinking of them, Jesus says, “I was hungry, and you gave me food” (Mt. 25:42). Our final judgment we all have to face one day is based on whether we practiced the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. “At the sunset of life, we will be judged on love.” (St. John of the Cross)
Fasting for Love is our response to this command of the Lord. It consists on donating the monetary equivalent of two meals that we as Catholics are bound to give up, one on Ash Wednesday and the other on Good Friday. The money collected through this initiative will be forwarded in its entirety to our Franciscans in Antigua, Guatemala, in order to support a hospital, a residence for abandoned children, and a nursing home for neglected elderly. They rely solely on the charity of good people.
On their behalf and on behalf of my Franciscan confrères who minister to them, my most sincere gratitude with a pledge of a daily remembrance in my prayers and Mass.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Antonio Nardoianni, OFM
(A thank you note for the donation we sent in 2015 can be read here)