Mary Ellen Robinson
Chief Operating Officer
We hope everyone is having a joyous and peace-filled summer and taking the time within these warmer months to relax, remember how blessed we are and to share those blessings with others. During this time, let us also remember and pray for people who find the attainment of joy to be a daily struggle and we encourage everyone to especially pray for those living in war-torn areas of the world.
In his May pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to join him at his home in the Vatican to pray for peace between their peoples. Peres and Abbas both accepted this invitation and ventured to the Vatican for a prayerful encounter in June. Yet sadly, violence has once again spiraled out of control in the Holy Land. At his Angelus address in Saint Peter’s Square on July 24, the Pope said:
“Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above
all of children who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life,
of a future. Dead children, injured children, orphaned children,
children whose toys are things left over from war, children who
can’t smile anymore. Please stop! I ask you with all my heart,
it’s time to stop. Stop, please!”
It is with this grave situation at hand that The Christophers are currently preparing a new prayer card with a peace intention for the whole world. And we have two new prayer cards for young people – both with the Prayer of The Christophers on one side, and on the other side of each card are intentions – one about growing in faith and the other about knowing that God is love. The prayer we use is one that has been attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. It begins: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love….” And it ends: “For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Saint Francis’ simple philosophy once revitalized the Church and his prayer has the power to transform people’s lives. We hope everyone will reach out to request these cards from us and then distribute them in their communities, so a love of peace can be instilled in the lives of young people, who in turn can help us all bring an end to war.
We continue to be heartened by the positive responses we get from friends of The Christophers on a regular basis. We recently got a letter from someone who attended the birthday celebration of a graduate of one of our leadership courses. Christopher information was displayed on the table where the party was held. The letter reads: “You do wonderful work. Even as a child I recall, ‘It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.’ Continue to touch lives with your beautiful message.”
Another person sent this note attached to their contribution: “Thank you for your faithfulness in sending the Christopher News Notes! They transform what is so ‘ordinary’ to ‘extraordinary,’ from the ‘secular’ to the ‘sacred’! They are powerful and challenging in their simplicity. God bless and prosper this wonderful ministry!”
And in his most recent letter, Deacon Peter Andre, the Director of Prison Ministry of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida, and a great friend of The Christophers, wrote of some trying times they are facing due to changes in leadership positions at two of their largest jails. He writes that they constantly find themselves “having to ‘re-educate’ new staff about faith based initiatives; about OUR faith based initiative, our Catholic heritage and traditions, till we feel spiritually weary.” Then later he writes, “We thank God for The Christophers! I don’t know what we’d do without your generous resources at our disposal! The Christopher News Notes continue to be accepted without reservation at every jail…. ‘Three Minutes a Day’ books are always in demand for both men and women!... I pray that it will give you, your staff and your benefactors some satisfaction and pride that your wonderful materials are truly making a difference ‘behind the wire.’”
Hearing from our Christopher friends is always uplifting, and it does indeed give us much satisfaction and pride to know that the work we do goes to support such courageous ministries around the country. We thank all of our supporters for making this possible.
Mary Ellen Robinson