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As we journey through Lent, in this year of the Eucharistic Renewal, a movement happening throughout the country this year, we recall Pope Francis’ reflection of Hearts on Fire, Feet on the Move – an encounter with Christ in the word and in the breaking of the bread so that we can participate more fully in a Mission of universal evangelization.

This is fully illustrated In the landscapes of Cambodia where Bishop Enrique “Quique” Figaredo, affectionately dubbed the “Bishop of the Wheelchairs” lives.  His story is not just an account of Missionary passion, but a testament to the profound difference that can be made when faith meets action, particularly when that action is backed by charitable hearts of people like you.

“In 1985, I was assigned to work with the Cambodian refugees on the border with Thailand,” Bishop Quique shared, recalling the vivid memories of his time helping victims who were incapacitated by land mines used during a perilous and brutal regime at war in the 70’s there.  “I became deeply involved in the lives of the people . . . and so many things made me fall in love with them.”

A project, which brought wheelchairs to the maimed, became the Bishop’s life journey and transformative work.  He first visited workshops run by people with disabilities.  From these visits, the building of wooden wheelchairs was born— becoming a beacon of hope for many. “This wheelchair took me to many parts of the country.  It transforms the lives of people who move from a dim life, locked in their homes, to being able to study, leave their homes, have a social life.”

Bishop Quique further clarifies, “But it also transforms the life of the giver.  It is a visible sign of a visible relationship.”

Today, Bishop Quique still oversees the wheelchair project with a workshop on the side of his church. It employs eighteen people, all of whom are amputees from landmines, and together, they build an average of one hundred chairs a day.  This journey, started with 1 visit, has mobilized to giving some 30,000 chairs over the past three decades. 

For over 200 years, with the benevolence of people, like yourself, the Societies has supported Missionaries who walk alongside disciples, like Bishop Quique on their faith journey of transformation. 

Would you give $3-a-day during Lent—$120 to transform a life like Bishop Quique  and many other Missionaries worldwide do?

Lent is a new beginning, a season to consider what spiritual practices and habits form us to love and accompany others in our life and mission.

Divine Word Missionaries know this from their ministry in Papua New Guinea, started over one hundred years ago.  All their initial work of building churches, which also served as schools, houses and clinics was destroyed in World War II.  The Missionaries had to start over.

In order to rebuild, the Missionaries formed mission clubs and wrote to the Societies for support.  As the devastation, both physical and spiritual, was overwhelming, evangelization consisted mainly of building “bush” schools, literally constructed of only bush material.   Little by little, they built permanent schools, churches were re-built, and the Missionaries saw the efforts of their evangelization take place. This journey took years of hard work.

Modern-day Divine Word Missionary in Papua New Guinea , Father Karolus Borotalks, still on a Mission journey of evangelization says, “God calls us and wants us to make a difference in this world.  He wants to work through us.  What matters is not the duration of our lives, but our contributions.  To say it more simply, what matters is not how long we live, but how we live.”

The Apostle Saint Paul, who traveled over 10,000 miles proclaiming the gospel of Jesus, encourages believers to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” Ephesians 6:18   In fact, prayer is an essential part of our Christian journey.  It has the potential to change lives and impact the world.

 And . . . there is no better time for prayer than Lent. 

Consider reciting a Rosary regularly for all Missionaries around the world as they spread God’s “Good News.”  The World Mission Rosary, developed by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen [National Director of the Societies from 1950-1966], dedicates each decade to a Missionary area and when recited, covers the entire world in prayer.  Go to for more information on the Rosary or ask for a Free Mission Rosary brochure with your response.

Make a commitment to pray the Rosary during Lent.  Every Monday at 8PM pray virtually via Zoom on the live Archdiocesan Rosary.  Join at with Missionaries and other families to ask for the   intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for our Catholic faith, personal intentions and for the Missions.

As I ask for your prayers and generous response for our Missionaries, please be assured of my prayers for you and yours.  May this season of reflection and journeying towards Christ, strengthen you and your loved ones in your faith, hope and love.

Monsignor James D. Beisel

Societies Archdiocesan Director


Click HERE to join the Rosary by video

[Zoom link or Call 646-558-8656 & enter Webinar ID: 494 480 541].

Throughout the year, the Pontifical Mission Societies support the proclamation of the Gospel, the building of the Church, and the work and witness of mission priests, religious Sisters and Brothers, and lay pastoral leaders. These missionaries provide food, education, and medical care to the most vulnerable communities in the Pope’s missions. Through their work, they reveal the compassionate heart of Jesus. Help support their efforts ~ and be right there with them, offering hope.

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