No one can say, “I am poor and hence I have no means of giving alms.” For even if you cannot give as the rich gave their gifts into the temple treasury, give two farthings as the poor widow did, and from you God will consider it a greater gift than the gifts of the rich. And if you do not have as much as two farthings? You can take pity on the sick and give alms by ministering to them. And if you cannot do even this? You can comfort your brother by your words. “A good word is better than the best of gifts.” +St. Dorotheos of Gaza
Beloved in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that you and your families are safe and in good health as we prepare to begin another Lenten journey that culminates in the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Last year at this time we were just becoming aware of a virus that started to rear its ugly face on the shores of North America. Just as we began our holy Lenten season, our journey to Pascha was interrupted, and our rhythm of prayer, fasting and almsgiving suffered. Nevertheless, we persevered thinking this interruption to our “normal” way of life would soon be over and we would quickly resume our daily routines as usual. Here we are a year later and, while there is hope now that a vaccine is available and being distributed, we nevertheless will once again have a different Lenten experience.
Despite this different time in which we live, there is one program that should never suffer due to our modified way of life, that program is the Food for Hungry and Charitable Outreach Program. This outreach, under the guidance of Ms. Robin Nicholas, has helped countless numbers of people for the past 47 years! People now, more than ever, are in need depend on our pennies, nickels and dimes that we collect from all over the Archdiocese.
As we begin a new fast, let us this year more than ever, be vigilant in our effort to give alms. While we might not be able to participate as fully as usual in the liturgical and prayer life of the Church because of the pandemic, let us increase our efforts in helping the poor and others in need. Let us emulate the words of St. Dorotheos of Gaza quoted above remembering that, even if we ourselves are experiencing some economic difficulty during this time, let us give what we can and if we cannot give, let us minister to the poor in other ways. Let us strive to reach out and help our brothers and sisters who are in need at this trying time as we examine our hearts and souls in order to cleanse them as we approach the feast of our Lord’s glorious resurrection from the dead.
Wishing you all a fruitful and spiritually rewarding fast, I remain,
Your Father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America
Visit the Food for Hungry People website for all 2021 resources