Dear brothers in Christ,
Rejoice in the Lord!
We praise God and thank your Fraternity as well as the friends and associates of Foreign Mission, who, despite the difficult period we are going through, have not stopped supporting and encouraging us in this blessed work of our Church.
Through the difficulties, we go through trials ourselves since our faith is tested. A while ago I was reading in the Acts of the Apostles about the sufferings of the Apostle Paul. Certainly there is no comparison, but we get a lot of examples from the First after the One that the Mission road to Salvation is not strewn with flowers.
We continue our struggle after reducing the amount of charity work and costs to the extent possible. Naturally, both people and priests are complaining about that, but it could not have been otherwise.
For this purpose, according to the instructions of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodore, who had predicted the impending crisis long before it came, we are trying to set up small enterprises in order to generate revenue and be able to sustain our projects. Of course, they are still in infancy stage, but with God’s help we hope that eventually they will come to fruition.
Thanks to the sensitivity of a Greek-Canadian donor of your Fraternity, the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Diego will soon become a reality. After several years of anticipation, the Christians of the city will finally have their own Church. Also, thanks to your care and support, we have begun drilling the borehole which is funded by an individual friend donor from Athens.
The struggle goes on
As regards our activities, the struggle still goes on despite our limited resources. However, we are particularly concerned about the building work at the orphanage, which has almost stopped. We are making an earnest appeal to your kind heart: if any donors could be found for this specific project, it would be a blessing for us to be able to continue it, even if this takes some time. The work done so far covers 70% of the project. We hope that there will be some charitable donors to help us complete it.
As for the lessons of the Seminar, they have ended with five graduates, some of whom wish to enter priesthood. Also, our schools, both primary and secondary, have ended for this school year with satisfactory results.
Indeed, the senior high school at Tulear which was funded by your Fraternity, is ranked among the best. It already has 450 students and achieves high success rates in tertiary education institutions. This year more classrooms are going to be required due to the large influx of students.
The clinics continue to offer their services and alleviate the suffering of the poor.
Two churches that we started constructing last year are about to be completed. At the same time, four more H. Churches, which suffered serious damage and were rendered non-operational due to severe weather, are now under repair.
Finally, there is a need for a water tank in a village in the region of Tulear. The people there are really suffering, and as usual, they have to carry the water in jerry cans from neighbouring villages. The capacity of the tank required should be 25 to 30 m3, and the cost estimate is about 9.000 €.
Lately, we were paid a visit by two very remarkable priests from Greece. One was Fr. Gregory Papathomas, Professor of Theology at the University of Athens, and the other was Fr. George Fragkiadakis, theologian. During their stay here, they organized a seminar for the clergy and the catechists of our Metropolis, spoke to the faithful and helped many people with their advice.
Fr. Gregory visited the island of Reunion and gave a lecture on “St. Gregory Palamas and the mental prayer.” ¾ of the audience were French Roman Catholics. It seems that Orthodoxy is constantly gaining ground and it is becoming more and more known to the world today.
Let us pray to God that He may send forth capable labourers into the vineyard to work hard for a richer harvest. “For indeed, the labourers are few.”
† Ignatios of Madagascar