The great season of Lent is upon us and our minds turn naturally to prayer and fasting, especially on a day like Ash Wednesday. But even on such a day we can easily forget that prayer and fasting are not twins, but triplets, and that they are incomplete without their sibling – almsgiving.
I direct our attention to almsgiving for a very specific purpose, one that I am asking you to consider as a part of your Lenten practices. As my family commemorates the 10th anniversary of the passing of our son Kevin ’07 we are hoping that others will join us in giving alms to help the work of the Church that was so close to Kevin’s heart: the foreign missions.
As a college student Kevin hoped to spend the summer of his junior year working with the poorest of the poor at St. Jude Parish in Jinja, Uganda. Kevin never lived to see that hope become a reality, and so we are asking our friends to symbolically, as my wife Ann so eloquently phrases it, “make Kevin’s mission trip for him” by giving alms to the missionary efforts of the two orders who meant so much to Kevin: the Society of Jesus and the Congregation of Holy Cross.
On Saturday, April 13, a 10th anniversary memorial Mass for Kevin will be held at 5:00 p.m. in the St. Mary of the Assumption Chapel at Saint Ignatius High School. The Mass will celebrate Palm Sunday but will also commemorate what would have been Kevin’s 30th birthday. All of our friends – those we have known for years and those whom we have never met but who are our friends through this bi-weekly blog – are invited. (RSVP here.)
By the time we gather for that Passion Sunday Mass we hope, in union with the generosity of our many friends, to have raised quite a bit of money for the Jesuit and Holy Cross Foreign Missions. Any money raised during Lent in memory of Kevin will be divided equally between the foreign missions of the religious orders that did such a wonderful job of educating Kevin.
My wife Ann often spoke with Kevin about his love for the foreign missions and his dream of spending a summer doing missionary work in East Africa. She has been inspired throughout the last 10 years to carry on Kevin’s passion through fundraising efforts like garage sales and making/selling bracelets, but for a while now she has believed that the time was coming for a bigger event. To that end, Ann has been in contact with the Missions Offices of the Midwest Province of the Jesuits and of the US Province of Holy Cross. The message to all of us from these dedicated men is this: our help is urgently, desperately needed.
With money that we raise, in Kevin’s memory, lives will be saved. All of the funds raised will go directly to the efforts of such projects as keeping open the doors of a clinic in Uganda; providing medical necessities for orphans in India; and supplying clean water for the many people struggling against natural disasters and political unrest in Haiti.
Any donations you can provide will help to save these least of our sisters and brothers. In Ann’s words, “Now is not the time to be shy. Now is the time for us to be a voice for the voiceless. Kevin would want us to speak on their behalf.” And so we come in Kevin’s name begging for your help on behalf of God’s poor.
Please consider joining us in this cause as you ponder what to do this Lent. Any donation – from the funds saved by the Lenten sacrifice of not stopping for a cup of coffee to those saved by foregoing a night on the town – will directly assist another person, a sister or brother in Christ.
Checks can be made out to Saint Ignatius High School (with “Kevin Mission Fund” on the memo line), and mailed in care of me at Saint Ignatius High School, 1911 West 30th Street, Cleveland, OH 44113. When all of the funds have been received we will send half to the Jesuit Mission Office in Milwaukee and half to the Holy Cross Mission Office in South Bend.
Thank you in advance for all of your help in bringing the triplets of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving together in a way that lets those in great need know that we take seriously the call to love God above all things and our neighbor as our selves. Have a blessed Lent.