My dear brothers and sisters-in-Christ,
PRAISE THE LORD JESUS!! A million thanks to all of you, our dear donors and benefactors, for your Love, your kindness and your generosity. May our dear Lord Jesus, who sees and knows everything, be your reward for all the help you have extended to our poor brothers and sisters in the third world! May you all be BLESSED!!
Year 2015 has come and gone, a year full of challenges and difficulties but also full of accomplishments. We have accomplished so much only because our dear Lord, Blessed Mother and St. Joseph are all behind the work we do. They are essential for us to accomplish anything. They provided us with the strength, perseverance, patience, and guidance I need, especially with all the difficulties I have to encounter in transmitting funds to our dear missionaries. You, our donors and benefactors have provided us with funds to be able to continue reaching out to the needs of our poor brothers and sisters. May the good Lord reward all of you with abundant graces and blessings! I am most grateful and hopeful that you will continue to help us in 2016 and in the coming years.
On December 8, 2015, we had Mass in our Sacred Heart Parish in Dover, NJ to celebrate our 31st anniversary of our love and service to the poor around the world. We lasted this long, 31 continuous long years of service to the poor, because of the LOVE we have for God and our poor brothers and sisters who depend on whatever we can do to assist them. Love propels us to do everything we can within our ability to reach out to all our poor brothers and sisters and to meet their basic need in life.
Our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, medical and education are also the basic needs of our poor brothers and sisters in the third world countries. We do our very best to help them meet these basic needs, as well as their spiritual needs, through our missionaries, who are our hands and feet in the missions. Without them, it is impossible for us to even know the needs of the poor in their areas and how to reach out to them. It is amazing how the good Lord directs people together so the needs of the poor may be met.
Sr. Milagros Caperig in Iloilo, Philippines, an instructor at Dominican College of Iloilo, through her we were able to assist 20 college students and 3 seminarians to continue their studies, giving them tuition assistance. Funds were sent to provide 100 students with backpacks filled with school supplies they need. A printer and a set of ink were also provided for the use of the students we are assisting. We also provided Sr. Milagros with funds for her feeding program.
In Uganda, through Sr. Teddy Joyce Adaku, we assisted 5 orphans in their studies, one of whom has completed her studies and now got a job with Hotel Arua as a cook and waitress, in line with the Certificate course she undertook in Catering and Hotel Management. The other four are continuing their studies, hopeful for a better and brighter future. A quote from Sr. Teddy Joyce Adaku, “I extend our heartfelt gratitude and overwhelming joys to you and our donors for being so kind, loving and caring towards me and the children under our care. Without you, our vocation as religious nuns would probably not have much impact on the local communities we serve. You have enabled us be fruitful and relevant to God’s children who are in need. May the good Lord keep looking after your welfare and shower all of you with His abundant Graces.”
Through Adoracion E. Abuel, in Quezon, Philippines, we have assisted 22 students in college, 14 in High School and 15 in Elementary with tuition and school supplies. The very poor students were also given some allowance for food and transportation. We also provided funds for a Rice Subsidy program for 60 families.
In Ethiopia, through Fr. Pius Prosper Nagawantu, 17 students were assisted in their education.
Fr. Joseph Ssebyala in Uganda, we assisted in the education of 60 orphans. One has graduated in Teacher’s Training College, 7 are in college, 22 are in High School and 30 are in primary school.
Fr. Zoilo R. Deslate, Jr. in Palawan, Philippines, we continue to assist 2 seminarians, one of whom, Custodio “Roy” Embellado Jr., will be ordained in 2016. We provided Fr. Zoilo with funds to build 5 artesian wells, to provide water for his people. We also provided him with 132 Mass Intentions.
Fr. Joseph Kibeti in Uganda was given assistance to be able to put a roof over St. Mary’s Church. He also was given assistance for tuition of students he is helping.
Fr. Mario Alanoca Chura in Bolivia was provided with funds he needed for a kidney transplant. His sister Antonia was his compatible kidney donor. Both survived the operation and Fr. Mario now has a new life. God provided him with two donors who were generous enough to provide the funds for his surgery and also because his sister was generous enough to give him one of her kidneys. She used to do hard work that requires heavy lifting but since her operation, she could no longer do that work. We provided her funds to have a mini-pharmacy for her self-sufficiency project to help her. She has some knowledge about drugs having worked in a pharmacy. Fr. Mario was also provided with 33 Mass Intentions. How GOD provides!!
Fr. William “Bill” Keenan in Bolivia, he is in-charge of Seminario del Spiritu Santo, in Coroico Diocese. We provided him funds to help 9 seminarians in their studies, and emergency funds for the seminarians use. We also provided funds for Basilia Bautista who comes to the Franciscans to pick up the assistance we provide for her medical needs. 68 Mass Intentions was also provided for his priests in the seminary. The last news I received from Fr. Bill is that he is being transferred by his superior (he is a Franciscan) to Cochabamba and is no longer in the Coroico Diocese. I am not sure now who will be my contact in 2016 to continue helping in the seminary. All the priests I knew from there are all gone, some have died and some transferred. I have been helping in this seminary for many years. I pray that the Lord send someone who could be my contact in the seminary, to be able to continue assisting the seminarians.
Bishop Juan Vargas of Coroico Diocese, in Bolivia, we provided him funds for his evangelization, assistance for the education of the high school and college students he is helping, assistance for the youth groups in two of the parishes in his Diocese, in Sorata and in Caranavi.
The following were also provided with Mass Intentions, the stipend helps our missionaries in their needs:
Fr. Showry Raju Yarasapu in India, 99 Mass Intentions
Fr. Magnus Kobbi Drikota in Australia, 133 Mass Intentions
Fr. Pontius Bandua in Uganda, 183 Mass Intentions
Fr. Kasipogu Balaraj in India, 165 Mass Intentions
Fr. Bernard Kyoribona in Rwanda, 130 Mass Intentions
Fr. John Avua Amandu in Italy, 100 Mass Intentions
Bishop Moses Prakasam in India, 66 Mass Intentions
Fr. Shiju Thomas (Fr. Cyriac Malayil) in India – was provided assistance for 20 seminarians.
Fr. Vijayakumar Yadala in India was provided with a sound system for his church.
Novelyn Asturias Ricafranca in the Philippines, funds was provided for rice distribution to 250 families living in three different slum areas in Sampaloc, Manila with 5 kilos of rice per family each month. We also provided her funds to provide 250 adults with Christmas gifts of spaghetti sauce and noodles, swift corned beef, tasty bread and 2 packs Tang Juice powder (good for 1 liter) and 300 children were given chocolates, so that they too can celebrate Christmas. Children in the third world countries do not have the luxury of eating chocolates as they are expensive, unaffordable for most families. A gift of a bar of chocolate is a most welcome gift that gives much joy to the children. Funds for a feeding program for 100 children were provided for two feedings. Funds to continue Rice Distribution into January 2016 has also been provided.
Sr. Malgorzata Parys and Sr. Mariola Karwowska in Bolivia – funds they need to help them renovate the building for kindergarten “Virgen de Fatima” had been successfully transmitted.
Manuel Navoa in the Philippines, in charge of the Prison Ministry was provided with funds for his transportation to be able to travel all over the country to visit all the prisoners and bring them some goodies like cookies, candy, also paper, pencils, envelopes and stamps, so that they could write to their families. Manuel talks to them and bring them Christ trying to tell them about the Holy family, Jesus, St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother. He distributes rosaries and other religious items, trying to do some evangelization to the prisoners. He leads them in the praying of the rosary.
Sr. Michaela Suresca in Iloilo, Philippines, through her we provided scholarships to 10 students to go to college. We also assisted her in the care of 2 twin orphans under her care. Here is a quote from her communication with us. “I had given away to our scholars the amount for their second semester. So far, they are doing well in their studies. Two will be graduating this coming March or April 2016. Cherry Mae, BS in Education and Melecio Lacsi on his two year course in electronics. Sammy Escasa had maintained his lead in his class. He even improved his grades, and so with Val Leonero. The twins also are doing well. The Apo or grandchildren of Sr. Jocelyn are trying hard to continue their schooling inspite of the hardship of walking long distance to school.”
Elexa Ricafranca in Manila, Philippines – we provided her with funds to feed 250 children and to have a post Christmas party for the children with food, small gifts, clowns and a magician for entertainment and party hosting. They had parlor games with giveaways like small toys and candies and prizes. Funds also provided to help the poor in the coming year to have self-sufficiency projects to assist them to be able to stand on their own.
We also send our missionaries in the Philippines large boxes known as balikbayan boxes. These contain mostly school supplies, non-perishable food items, basic necessities, clothing, etc. Here is another quote from our missionary, “I received through Sr. Mila your gifts for the poor children, 50 handbags with
notebooks, crayon, pad papers, pens and pencils, with sharpeners and paste. The children will be delighted to receive them. I will distribute them before the 25th, Christmas Day. Thank you so much.”
I used to send small boxes to all our missionaries in about 40 countries around the world, boxes containing rosaries, religious items, bibles and new testaments, religious books and booklets. But ever since the post office had, a few years ago, discontinued the M-Bag that I used to ship to the missions, I could no longer send packages by ship. The only available way to send is via Air Mail which I cannot afford as postage is too expensive; it cost more than the cost of the content. At present I can only send to the Philippines using the balikbayan boxes, a large box that when filled weighs more than 50 lbs and I pay $60.00 per box. So far in the year 2015, we have sent 14 boxes. I have 6 more boxes now ready to be shipped for 2016. For those countries I could no longer send packages, I send them funds to buy in their countries what they need.
As I was writing this report, I have been reminiscing what the good Lord have done in the past 31 years, using us as His instruments. I have visited our missionaries all over India, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, Chile, Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, Bolivia and Peru. I have visited the lepers in the Philippines, India and Nigeria, also the slums, the prisons, the orphanages and homes of the poor in most of these countries.
When I was visiting the lepers, one of them asked me a question. “Are you not afraid of us?” My response was, “Why would I be afraid. Are you not my brothers and sisters too?” She said, “Because the priests are afraid of us.” Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters that you do for me.”
When I went to the prisons, it was lunch time and the prisoners were having their meal. I noticed that four prisoners were eating from one plate with their bare hands. I also noticed that some are lying on the bare cement floor, with no sleeping mat. Lying on cold cement could get them sick with pneumonia. I asked the person-in-charge to make a list of all those who need plates and sleeping mats, in both the male and female sections. I was given very long lists, one for plates and the other for sleeping mats. I asked to be brought to the market and I bought all the needed plates and sleeping mats according to the lists. We went back to the prison and distributed the plates, calling each name from the lists and as the prisoner approaches, I handed to each of them the plates in the first round and the sleeping mats in the second round. We did this in both the female and male sections. I wasn’t looking at their faces as I was busy trying to distribute to each of the prisoners. The guard whispered in my ears, “Look at their faces”. When I did, I saw tears coming down from the faces of the prisoners. Later I found out that they were very touch with what I have done out of my love for them. They said, “You came here for the very first time, you saw our needs and you responded with love.” While I was there, the prisoners got busy carving a wooden heart shape plaque of gratitude made of wood which they handed to me before I left the prisons.
My dear brothers and sisters, I have just narrated to you what has transpired in 2015 as well as reminisce how the good Lord has used us in the past 31 years. You were part of all of these through your generosity which enabled us to reach out to all our poor brothers and sisters in need in many parts of the world. Without your help, it would be impossible for us to accomplish so much. May the good Lord be your reward for your kindness, your thoughfulness and your generosity!
I assure you that whatever you have given to us to help our poor brothers and sisters, they were used 100% for their needs. We use our own personal donations to meet the needed operational expenses and to fill what is lacking. Two donors have given me some help for the shipping expenses which is very much appreciated. You have helped me carry with love this heavy burden. My own home has been used as the center of operations for the monthly board meetings, for storing mission materials, for packing and shipping of the mission boxes shipped to the Philippines. Our good Lord uses my house, which has been consecrated to Blessed Mother and given to HIM from the very beginning, for HIS purposes. PRAISE the LORD forever!!
Your loving and caring sister,