August 21 – XXI Sunday in Ordinary Time

My dear friends,

We are so blessed here in our parish. As school started this past week, we did not have to worry about whether the kids walking through our hallways came to us hungry because their parents couldn’t afford food or if they would go home to sub-standard housing. This is one of the few things that as a pastor I do not have to worry about. Yet there are pastors throughout the world that worry about whether their flock have enough to eat or where they will lay their heads every night. We must be cognizant of the poor in our world especially when that type of poverty exists in our own country. 

Each year, parishes throughout the Archdiocese welcome visiting missionaries and take up a special second collection to support them as part of Archdiocese of Miami’s Missionary Co-Operative Program. This year, in lieu of the usual in-person appeals, missions from around the world were asked to create and submit a video to be shared with the parishes that will be supporting them. For 2022, Little Flower has been asked to help support the Diocese of Gallup.

Let me tell you a little bit about the Diocese of Gallup: founded in 1939, it consists of 53 parishes, covering 55,000 square miles in the states of New Mexico and Arizona, primarily serving Native American and Hispanic populations. The Diocese of Gallup is the poorest Catholic diocese in the country. What is so striking is the third world poverty that many of their families live in. Whole families live in tiny homes of one room with dirt floors, no running water, and no electricity. This is what I have encountered on missionary trips to third world countries. This is not what anyone should encounter in the United States.

This Diocese was assigned to Little Flower last spring, and just last month we all saw the moving pilgrimage that Pope Francis made to Canada to encounter the Native Americans of that nation. It brought their plight both in Canada and the U.S. into the light. Half of the population of Native Americans in the United States live in poverty. Many of them deal with substance abuse. Native American young people have the highest dropout rate in the country. They face so many obstacles in the southwestern U.S. Yet the Church is there to alleviate the suffering of these, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Diocese of Gallup prepared a very moving video that we placed on our website and Facebook page. I invite you watch it by scanning the QR code below. It is our solemn duty as Christians to take care of the poorest among us. At the end of today’s Mass, we will take up a special second collection to help assist the charitable works of the Church in Gallup. I thank you in advance for the generosity that this community always gives to the poor. Pray for these brothers and sisters of ours in Arizona and New Mexico, and pray for their bishop and all the priests and religious sisters and lay workers who take care of the poorest of the poor in their midst. We are One Church. One Body in Christ. Let us assist those who urgently need our help.

God bless you all,

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