Dear sisters and brothers,

When I sat down to write about this difficult year, I asked the Holy Spirit for guidance.  He immediately led me to the Nativity scene in Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary were alone to experience the birth of their Son.  The young couple were like many in the 2020 pandemic, separated from families and friends for memorable events.  Joseph and Mary also had to rely on the kindness of an innkeeper who was their last resort and provided a stable for shelter.  In a way, the Casa Franciscana Mission is that stable for thousands seeking some form of shelter.  The face of Jesus is on everyone who comes to us – the elderly, the sick, the children, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless, the migrant, the outcasts.

 The Mission looked forward to 2020 with the celebration of the first birthday of the Denise Nagel Youth Center. The women’s co-op had a record number of widows and single mothers participating and our dining room pantry was well stocked.  How quickly things changed!  All of our Mission services were shut down by COVID-19.  Some of our own staff came down with the virus or lost loved ones.   Increasing numbers became unemployed and sick.  More than ever, we were that stable for those in need.  The pages that follow show how God, like the star that led the magi, guided us to providing services in a different way.

These ways became more expensive as personal protective equipment was needed; bulk food could not be prepared and disposable supplies were required.  Thanks to you, our magi, with your gifts we were able to relieve much suffering.  This is especially meaningful since we know that some of you also lost jobs and suffered from the brutal virus.  We prayed for you and felt the brotherhood as we struggled together.  From your sisters and brothers in Guaymas, I send Christmas love and blessings and the hope of a brighter 2021.  Let us not forget what we learned from 2020.

Fr. Martin, OFM

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