My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another…” (1 Jn. 4:11). I greet you by wishing you a blessed 2021, a year that we give thanks to God, notwithstanding the heartache, confusion, fear, and anxiety brought on by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that is ravaging our country. Let us continue to pray for the strength to encourage each other during these challenging times because God is always walking by your side.
Popes Francis writes that the period of Lent is a time of Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving. Fasting, prayer and almsgiving, as preached by Jesus (cf. Mt 6:1-18), enable and express our conversion. The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) make it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope and effective charity”(Pope Francis, Lent 2021).
Every year, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference organises the annual Lenten Appeal which is a collection that is taken in all parishes and dioceses within the Conference area during Lent. This money is used for the works of the Conference such as: Justice and Peace, Communication, Liturgy, etc. and the assistance of the poor and needy. We are seeking new ways, to do the weekly collections for the Lenten Appeal during this season of Lent for 2021.
We are appealing to all our Diocesan and Parish Pastoral Councils to look at options as to how we can continue to support the poor and needy and the works of the Church. We have one suggestion and that is to make the banking account details available to the people of God, for all of them to be able to contribute during this period of Lent.
Once more the SACBC, Bishops Lenten Appeal Office would like to thank you for taking your time to look at this correspondence and consider how you will be open to new possibilities of supporting the works of the Church during this period of Lent. Attached is the poster we ask you to share with all the people of God especially those who do not have internet connections.
Let us continue to Believe, Love and Hope because this is how Jesus changes our lives on the journey through Lent. Keeping in mind the pillars of the Lenten journey, Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, not forgetting that this is a time for reconciliation and to be ready for the light of Easter.
With thanks and prayers.
Bro. Ashley Tillek, OFM
National Lenten Appeal Director