Lent Giving


Rarely in my life, if ever, has the hope in the darkness observed in the liturgical calendar so coincided with the hope in the darkness of the calendar on my wall.

In Lent, we prayerfully await the Resurrection of our Lord. This year, we await also the resurrection of our normal lives.

But we have hope. Just as we have hope in the promise of our Lord, so too we have hope this pandemic will end.

As with so many around the world, our Comboni Missionaries have sometimes evaded the virus, and sometimes not. Three to four percent of our Congregation, within this last year, has passed. Some passed quietly in their twilight years; some passed at the height of their energies laboring in the missions even as the virus bore down upon them.

In Uganda, in a feeding project for children with disabilities, the Comboni brother in charge succumbed. His replacement, also a Comboni brother, succumbed shortly thereafter. Now, an Italian laywoman has stepped into the breach. She is in equal danger, and knows it.

Yet she has hope. Just as against all reason the first followers of Christ had hope in the Resurrection, so too we have hope in this present moment.

But hope is not idle. It is not passive. There is so much to do until a better day comes... and we need your help to do it.

The feeding efforts are more needed than ever. As is the oxygen hauled up the stairs of people who are so desperately poor in Peru, and so desperately ill. As is the aid we provide the abandoned elderly in the Horn of Africa.

A Comboni school teaching children in the Nairobi slums has reduced wages 70 percent – to stay open. The construction of a high school in rural Malawi is continuing, where up to now even the brightest children reached a dead-end after but a handful of grades. In America, rent assistance is being given to families living one quietly desperate month to the next.

These things are happening, and in the present circumstance, through faith, grit – and yes, through hope. Hope to make it to that better day. But they happen too because people all over the developed world, even as they contend with this virus, are looking out for their less fortunate neighbors, whether these neighbors are around the block on a familiar street or across the seas in a landscape we can scarcely imagine.

There are so many things to do and only so many resources. In these weeks of Lent, my request to you is that you help us increase these resources – that we, together in hope, make it to that brighter day.

Please pray for us, as we pray for you.


Fr. Ruffino Ezama, mccj

Provincial Superior - North American Province

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