My dear Sisters and Brothers,
Nothing lights up the world like the smile of a child. With our children’s dining room and the youth center closed due to the pandemic we do not see many smiles. Children wander aimlessly with sickness and poverty all around them. As we have moved our ministries into the barrios, migrant farms and the place where the infamous La Bestia train stops (Yes, the scenes in the popular novel, American Dirt, are real), I see sadness everywhere. We do our best to provide relief but amongst all the turmoil in the world, including the United States, sometimes it becomes overwhelming.
The other day, my heart was lifted when I witnessed a woman giving a child a book as he waited to climb back onto La Bestia. The pure joy of that little boy brought tears to my eyes. Such a simple act but so meaningful to both the receiver and the giver! My next thought was “Why couldn’t we bring books to the children when we visit the neighborhoods and the camps”? I thought of the many true stories that became novels of how books impacted people’s lives. If nothing else, it tells them someone cares.
So, I am asking you to care as we begin our initiative to carry children’s books with us along with the food, water, medicine and clothes when we trek to where God is calling us to help. I am asking for $15 or anything that you can afford. Please consider making it a recurring donation to help us carry on our efforts. Checks can be mailed to: Casa Franciscana Mission, P.O. Box 15576, Scottsdale, AZ 85267 or through this website.
To paraphrase Stephen King: Books are a uniquely portable form of happiness. Help us spread some happiness along with God’s love through you.
Peace and all good,
Fr. Martin Ibarra, OFM