Dear Columban Friends,
Happy New Year! A new year inspires many of us to develop new and healthy habits, clean out our homes, or take up a new hobby. After the excesses of the Christmas season – the food, the gifts, the festivities—many of us are ready to start the new year with the intentions to lose weight, exercise regularly and finally clean out the attic or basement!
However, in the places where Columbans live and work on mission, a new year does not follow a season of excess. Many of the people we serve consider themselves quite blessed if they are able to augment their usual meager meals with another morsel of meat or something sweet at Christmas. A new pair of shoes for one child and perhaps a shirt for another would make for an exciting Christmas morning before they go to Mass.
A new physical fitness routine, or dedicated time to “work out,” would be laughable to our people who typically work physically demanding jobs for long hours and low pay. They don’t need to set aside time in the day to exercise for they are doing it all day long. The idea of gaining weight over the holidays is equally ludicrous. In order to afford anything for Christmas, many of them work even longer hours in the hope of earning a bit more money for gifts or food. And, there is no need to clear out the old to make room for the new in their small, one room homes. Everything is used until it can’t be used anymore.
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
No matter the difficulties that come to us, God renews His Grace in every situation we face. Columban missionaries are blessed to see God’s Grace at work every day. While our people do not come to Christmas Mass with stuffed bellies or in entirely new outfits, they come to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. They come to celebrate all that the Lord does for them throughout the year. Their faith is inspiring and renewing. Their faithfulness is great indeed.
As we being this new year, your support of God’s people through Columban mission is a reminder of God’s great love for us all. God’s faithfulness is demonstrated in your prayerful and financial support of those who work so hard just to survive.
Thank you for all that you have done for your brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter what this new year holds for you, God’s compassion will never fail. He will be with you.
Gratefully Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Burger
Director, U.S. Region