February 2008 - District Superior's Letter
Reproduction of an appeal sent from Father Gendron to Father Rostand requesting urgent aid for Zimbabwe.
My dear faithful,
I am forwarding you a letter from Father Gendron asking some help for the mission of the Society of Saint Pius X in Zimbabwe. The situation of our mission there, because of political and economic reasons in the country, needs urgent help. I am sure that you will be generous.
Thanking you in advance and assuring you of my priestly blessing.
Fr. Arnaud Rostand
District Superior of Canada
Dear friends and Benefactors of Zimbabwe,
I take the opportunity presented to me by your district superior, to tell you of some events, which have taken place in our Priory of Zimbabwe. Operation “SOS Zimbabwe” which was started a few months ago continues while food parcels from a number of countries have helped and supported our 400 faithful.
We have received 99% of the parcels sent! Thanks to the goodness of the Catholic employees of the Post Office, taxes were not charged and every Sunday we were able to distribute the food to a hundred families!
Oh if you could but see the joy of parents and children alike when they see the contents of these boxes! Truly, all this food has come at the right moment. One can find nothing anymore here in Zimbabwe, and if there still are a few scraps upon the shelves the prices are beyond reach!
It will not be surprising, if before the end of 2008 the UN deliver a report of the death of 4 million Zimbabweans, unless things change drastically. I believe it. The crisis is certainly not over!
Thanks to all these countries, we are also trying to import food from South Africa. We are at the present on the point of binding a contract with an importer, which will assure an enormous quantity of food. For this reason we ask you not to send any food parcels, but rather funds to be sent through your district superior to our superior in South Africa. This seems now to be more efficacious.
Our mission at Tafara (30 km from the Priory), has developed well. The origin of this mission is due to a young girl, Lucy, of 15. It was she who invited all the children of the village to catechism. This was in 2006. Last year, one of these girls, Mary-Debra, 14 years of age, died of cancer of the brain. She rendered her soul to God only one month after her baptism. Since then, there are ever more and more faithful. More than 200 people come now every Sunday to catechism. Even the head of the village, filled with admiration before this change amongst his people, has now become a catechumen! Before the mission was established, there would always be fighting (tearing off of clothes before all the people!) as well as jealousies and every other type of evil. Now, peace reigns and at the strike of the 17h30 daily bell, all come to recite the rosary in our little providential chapel. What a joy it was last Christmas to baptize 31 children and adults, all of whom came from this mission! Let us pray that one day we may be able to build a real chapel at Tafara.
Notwithstanding this deathly atmosphere, our priory continues to shine forth its rays over the country. After the holidays, our catechism lessons began again with more than 250 children, divided into 17 groups around our 15 catechists. Oh how good the good God is to have sent us so many innocent little souls to be received and to grow in the holy Catholic faith.
Innocent souls indeed since the law here in Zimbabwe still prohibits abortion, euthanasia, pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, immodest dress and behavior etc.... In a certain way we are here in a world still well protected. Since most of our faithful are without electricity there is no question of the television!
Because necessities in mission countries are never exhausted, we are praying to be able to buy the house next door. School teachers are immigrating to South Africa since they can no longer live on the salary they receive here. Passports are no longer available and so these people try and cross the border through the boundary river infested with crocodiles. Not a few have been swallowed up by these prehistoric beasts! So our children receive no more scholarly education. Added to this, our aged can no longer pay their rent or feed themselves. For this reason we wish to start a school and at the same time an old age home. This house next door seems sufficiently big to accomplish these two aims. It would also be simple to open the fence between and so enlarge our property. The price of this house: $170,000!
Please remember also in your prayers a young man by the name of Pius who left mid February for our seminary in Australia. If God so wishes it, he will be our first black priestly vocation from Zimbabwe. This priory has already given 11 vocations!
Dear friends, I hope that this news from our country will give you the courage to help us. May God render you a hundred fold, if not in this life, then in the next!
To Jesus through Mary.
I bless you with all my heart+
Fr. Gendron +