Acilia, Rome, January 30, 2014
On Saturday, January 25th, Fr. Federico Highton sent me a brief account of his conversation with the Holy Father, after having concelebrated Holy Mass with him at the Domus Sanctae Marthae on the previous Monday, the 20th of January.
During the course of the last few months, several of our missionaries have had the opportunity to concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father or to greet him. Many of you may have heard about some of these meetings and the words of praise and encouragement from the Pope, especially for those missions which he calls the “front line” of the Church.
Speaking of our missions in “the front lines”, I would like to ask your prayers in a special way for our missionaries. I mean all of them, but at this point especially those who are in Syria, Gaza, Baghdad and Egypt. Also, I ask you to pray for our priests in Ukraine where, as you know, presently there is a very tense and delicate situation that could lead to a civil war.
In addition to asking for prayers, I take the opportunity to tell you that, a few days ago, I was able to speak with the priests who carry on the mission in these difficult places, where there are wars presently. For example, until now, it had been almost impossible to contact the Fathers in Syria but now, by God’s grace, I was able to do it by other means. When they have power one can contact them, and so sometimes one needs to keep trying until we are able to establish communication (you first send them a small message and see if they respond). It is very edifying to hear some of the details of the daily lives of the priests in Syria: Adoration with the people, Rosary and the Holy Mass. All this is done by the light of a small lamp with a cable borrowed from the neighbors. Despite the cold, the lack of power and the difficulty in doing many activities, they organize various apostolates as we learn from their chronicles. Of course, they try not to go out into the street much, unless it is absolutely necessary. Fr. Rodrigo Miranda told me that in these days there has been bombing in their very neighborhood. The day-to-day situation that our priests in Gaza face is something similar, where it is known that the situation is extremely difficult. Also in Baghdad, there has recently been a great surge in violence.
Our priests are bearing witness to Christ in these places that are extremely difficult. I invite you to contact them by email or other means. Needless to say, to speak with one of us is very important for them.
I conclude with the warmest greetings in Christ and Mary, wishing you a blessed day of the religious which will be celebrated soon.
Fr. Carlos Walker, IVE