Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there will not be a Missionary this year for an in-person appeal. However the Missionary Cooperative 2020 is still being offered and promoted through the parishes.
Dear brother priest and dear brothers and sisters of the Church in Winona,
I am Fr. Leo, an Argentinian missionary priest, and together with my blood-sister, a Maria Splendor Christi, we are announcing the Gospel of Christ in Ecuador, in the very south of the City of Guayaquil, a very humble place, where the Great Pope John Paul II insisted to visit on one of his trips.
My Parish is entrusted to this great Saint, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, God gave the world as an immense gift last century, who continues to perform great miracles. As you might know, many
Americans were able to travel to Italy and meet him personally, as he was also seen in North America, visiting people in need. If you have not heard of him, let me encourage you to do it: there are several pages on the internet and videos telling his stories. I am also working on recording a short series of videos narrating his life on YouTube. You also have a beautiful Shrine dedicated to him in Pennsylvania.
This epidemic situation made it impossible for me to travel and visit you personally. No doubt this crisis hit the whole world, but we need to cling to St. Paul's principle OMNIA COOPERANTUR: ''we know that all things work together for good to those who love God" (Rom. 8: 28), and to persevere in prayer and penance, together with charity. This is why, even though you have suffered a lot in the whole Country, you might be able to stretch your hands to those who also suffer with you -united in the same Body and Spirit- in a different part of the world.
We have three projects in which we need and will appreciate your support:
FOOD PROJECT: Sad to say, Guayaquil has become very famous at the beginning of the crisis, as you might have seen in the news. 90% of my Parishioners don't have a normal job, and work for daily wage. Some of my courageous parishioners volunteered to locate the families in need (elderly, families with many children one of them has 9!-, mothers without the help of the children's fathers), and after visiting the 138 blocks of the Parish and making a list of those most in need, along with the help of some friends in the US who sent some money, I was able to buy FOOD KITS for 240 families -either Catholics or not-, about 1,149 persons (482 of them children). I am praying to St. Joseph that we can do this once or twice per month, until the end of the crisis.
OUR SCHOOL PROJECT: We also run a Catholic School 'Padre Pio' with 360 students. The tuition for the year of a child in our School is only US$350. Many people in the US, due to other Mission Appeal trips in previous years, have sponsored a child for a year. At the present, we have a list of 78 children. Even though education will mostly be online, it becomes three times more difficult, since most of the parents cannot afford the tuition and we still have to pay all the teachers. Please support us in educating these children according to Christian Principles, and not in the destructive principles of modern and socialist mentality? They are the future of Ecuador, and -if they become saints benefactors of all humanity, as Padre Pio…
CHURCH SUPPORT: Finally, your financial support will help us continue to pay our basic services and build a beautiful Church and Shrine for our Patron Saint, in order to promote his devotion.
Let me assure you of my daily prayers for your Church and your families, especially at the daily Mass I try to celebrate every day with the best of my love and devotion!
We will receive donations through Sunday, August 16.