Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
This year, 2020, has proven to be a very different and very difficult time for our Church, our nation, our communities and for individuals. As we were saying “Happy New Year” on January 1, little did we know that a few weeks later we would be quarantined in our homes and that our lives and livelihoods would be disrupted for months. This has certainly not been the worst of times we have faced, but it is not the best of times, either.
This, however, is not a time to be indifferent to the needs of those around the world who are suffering and need to experience the solidarity of other Christians to face the pandemic and life’s harsh realities. Life may not return to “normal” next week, but we will gradually get back there if we continue to pray for one another and assist one another, especially with basic needs.
This Christian solidarity and response to basic needs is at the heart of the Missionary Cooperative Program, which our Diocese sponsors each summer. Welcoming a missionary priest to your parish and listening with an open heart to his story allows each of us to hear the voice of Jesus challenging us to care for the “least ones” among our brothers and sisters in mission lands.
Because of COVID-19, missionaries will not physically fill our pulpits this summer to tell their story, but they will voice their needs in a letter that will soon be communicated to our parishes on a “Missionary Cooperative Sunday.” Our parishioners will still have the opportunity to bring the light of Jesus to those overwhelmed by shadows – to spread a contagion of hope to those who need to feel the powerful love of Jesus and His Church.
Please be as generous as your present means allow and grant hope to the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees, the homeless, and to those who need to hear the Gospel message and know the healing power of Christ’s love.
We can meet this challenging moment in history with generosity and love, remembering in a special way those who are most in need.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Reverend Robert F. Sharman
Diocesan Director, Office of Pontifical Missions
Missionary Cooperative Sunday
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to cancel in-person appeals for the summer Missionary Cooperative Program, and instead institute a “Missionary Cooperative Sunday” in each individual parish wherein the pastor will read an appeal letter from the missionary organization and take a special collection for its needs.
There is also an option for online giving to their cause at www.hbgdiocese.org/missions; click on the Donate button and choose “Missionary Cooperative Appeal.”