Easter appeal for the African Famine victims

As we celebrate Easter with feasting let us remember those who are starving especially the many dying from hunger in Africa. When I was first read of the impending tragedy, I thought to myself, “What Lord, can I do except to pray for them. The magnitude of the problem is so immense that anything I can do is just a drop in the ocean.” What jolted me into action was that particular Sunday gospel was the parable of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man (Luke16) which served as a timely admonishment of my callous attitude. Mother Teresa says, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.”

I recently wrote to the presidents of regional federations asking them to appeal to their members to do whatever they can to help the estimated 20 million people facing starvation in Africa, I made the same appeal to my mission group ACTS (A Call To Share) to support the Salesian sisters relief efforts in Sudan. Within a couple of weeks the ACTS family has raised almost S$75,000 which will feed 4,000 people for 3 months. I was amazed that despite the difficult economic conditions and already supporting several humanitarian projects, a small group of friends who are just ordinary people have amongst themselves donated such a generous sum. What was even more amazing was that the Salesian sisters in Cambodia told us that the impoverished students whom ACTS work with, have also on their own initiative carried out a couple of projects to raise money for the relief efforts in Africa!

While reading the Gospel account of Christ Passion, I was struck by the love and concern that Jesus had for his mother even as He was hanging on the cross by entrusting Mary to the care of John, the beloved disciple. At the same time, the Church teaches, that when Jesus said, “Woman, behold your son”, Mary became the mother not just of John but of all believers. Saint John Paul II emphasised this belief in his encyclical letter Redemptoris Mater.

If you want to do something for mothers and children, I invite you to consider supporting the Isiolo Drought Relief Effort organised by Matercare International (lead by Prof Robert Walley) the OBGYN arm of FIAMC to staff and equip the St John Paul II Matercare Maternity Hospital which has seen a deluge of patients seeking treatment during this time of draught. Remember the sacrifices made by mothers all over the world and that every drop counts. You could start by organising a Mother’s Day collection amongst your friends and send to http://www.matercare.org/donate.

Wishing all of you the Peace and Joy of the Risen Christ,
John Lee