Our actions have a tongue of their own; they have an eloquence of their own, even when the tongue is silent. For deeds prove the lover more than words.
-St. Cyril of Jerusalem
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, there are pictures and news coverage of East Africa. Extreme hunger and drought has gripped the nation. We are dealing with a drought and increased hunger in the Austin area. At my parish of St.Ignatius, Martyr, our parish St.Vincent de Paul Food Pantry has served over 900 families in just the past 3 months and is in constant need of food and money to continue to serve the working poor and homeless. We even had to close the doors to our food pantry a couple of weeks ago because didn’t have any more food to hand out and we didn’t have they money to buy more. And yet, but the situation is far worse in East Africa right now.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has begun a campaign called “East African Drought: We are suffering, they are dying.” In this campaign they are asking parishes to do voluntary special collections and asking individuals to consider donating to CRS (Catholic Relief Services) in response to the drought and need for humanitarian relief in East Africa. More than 11 million people in East Africa are dealing with the daily reality of hunger because of one of the worst droughts in many years, resulting in food and water shortages, food price increases and refugees moving from one country to another seeking food.
We live in a global community in which God has called us to love and care for ourselves and our brothers and sisters, whether they are in the Austin area or in another part of the world. The past two months even Pope Benedict XVI has been calling for us as Catholics to show compassion and share with the hungry in Africa. In a July 31 address Pope Benedict XVI referred to the story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes, stating that Christ was giving his disciples an example to follow:
“He encourages us to give them something to eat and to share bread with the needy. Following Christ, we must be sensitive to people’s poverty… In the Eucharist, Jesus makes us witnesses to God’s compassion for every brother and sister.” -Pope Benedict XVI
I know many of us are struggling in this heat, and with jobs and making ends meet in this economy. But if you can, please consider making a monetary contribution to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) or a monetary or canned goods donation to your local St.Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. And if you can’t make a donation, please consider donating some of your time at a food pantry or donating some of your time to pray. We may be struggling in the United States to make ends meet at times, yet many times these struggles and sufferings still include the luxuries of cell phones, TV, either personal or public transportation, three meals a day and more. But in East Africa right now the situation is so dire, lives are at stake.
Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ –Matthew 25: 34-40