The Angel of the Lord said to the shepherds living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock, “I proclaim to you ‘Good News’ of great joy that will be for all the people. And they went in haste and found the infant, Jesus lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about the child” Luke 2: 9-17 excerpts
At Christmas, we may be reminded to follow in th footsteps of the shepherds. Archbishop Charles Chaput eloquently reflected on this moment, “We should ask God for the grace to be astonished, as they were, as we draw close to the manger, because the truth of this Child is beyond anything we could hope for or expect. We should ask God for the grace to be simple and pure of heart, as the shepherds were; to radiate the joy of their discovery, as they did.” Christmas Homily, 2015
The newborn in the manger offers us life — eternal life — without charge or obligation other than to love one another as He loves us.
This love is mirrored in Missionaries, who like the shepherds, respond to God’s call to proclaim “Good News” to all the people. They minister to many children in need through the support of the Missionary Childhood Association, one of the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Be Missionary – follow in the shepherds’ footsteps
In the Turkana, one of the poorest regions in north-west Kenya, Missionaries work in this spirit of faith. You can be a part of it this!
Turkana, in the Diocese of Lodwar, is one of the driest regions in the world. This December, the children there will go “sledging” – sledding on sand using an old piece of plastic. It’s almost as good as on snow! Children also play simple games like sticks-n-stones or hide-n-seek.
Play time comes only after chores. Fetching water is a daily chore for children throughout Kenya. In Turkana, the search for water often involves digging holes in a dried-up riverbed. Reaching water may require digging 16 feet into the dry ground.
With offerings from the Catholic faithful and the Pontifical Mission Societies in Germany, the Lodwar Diocese has constructed a water station for the people of Turkana.
Help our Mission Societies help too! Your generous gift of $150 purchases one water tank – $1,000 builds one rain water catchment. Perhaps you can offer that amount or something towards it, maybe $50 or $25. Whatever you provide will be most appreciated to help children and their families a half a world away.
In this region of Kenya and throughout Africa, many families cannot send their children to school. Although most primary schools are free, few families can afford the required uniforms, books and supplies. Also, many children can’t attend school because it may be too far away or there are too few teachers-one in four Kenyans can neither read nor write. Local Missionary priests have been assisting some of these children by providing school materials and paying their school fees.
Act on God’s word. Through your prayers and generous support of the Missionary Childhood Association, the children in Turkana drink clean water and receive an education.
A gift of $15 provides for a child’s uniform or $60 pays the school fees for a child for a year
Bishop Dominic Kimengich of the Diocese of Lodwar recently wrote to Catholics in the United States, Lastly I wish to notify you that there is a visitor we are waiting for – the visitor from heaven who is the Child Jesus. May you receive Him warmly and with lots of love during this Christmas. As you see the Child Jesus, remember the children of Lodwar. Most of them will not be fortunate to enjoy the material side of Christmas because they have no food to eat and they have no Father Christmas to give them gifts. One thing which we all wish you is what the angels told the shepherd:
Peace to all people of Good Will. Peace be with you all!