There has been large devastation in various parts of Kerala, India due to floods in the state, and many people have lost their lives and thousands have been left stranded. The rain, which started in early August 2018, was recorded as the highest rainfall in 90 years. About 223 deaths have been reported and 10 million people are left stranded and homeless in 3274 relief camps. However, it hasn’t rained this week and the floodwaters have begun to recede in some parts. People from flood-affected areas are slowly returning to their homes.
His Grace, Archbishop Julian Leow has released RM50,000 from the Natural Disaster Fund of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur in aid of the relief work to support the flood victims in Kerala. All parishes in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur will carry out a second collection at all Masses on 8 – 9 September 2018, for the flood victims. In the meantime, we shall continue to pray for all those who are affected by the floods and for those who are engaged in the rescue and relief missions.
Two months ago, our government started a donation campaign for Tabung Harapan Malaysia, to help the government tackle the RM1 trillion national debt. Many Malaysians contributed generously and the total collection went up to more than RM170 million. The Catholic Church in Malaysia collected a sum of RM1,143,635.10 for Tabung Harapan Malaysia. This was the amount collected from various parishes throughout Malaysia during the weekend Masses on 22 – 24 June 2018.
The end-of-year brings about our usual campaigns: one of which is the school uniform campaign for poor students and the other is the provision of groceries for poor families. St. Joseph’s Parish Integral of Human Development (PIHD) committee will start collecting funds during the weekend Masses from the end of September 2018 onwards. We should give our strong support for these two campaigns, and we should not fail in reaching out to the poor and marginalised families in our vicinity. In the past years, we have done a good job and this year we expect to be more successful in this outreach program. Each parishioner should make a commitment in assisting the poor children and their families to lessen their financial burden. It is part of bringing our Christmas joy to their homes.
On 18 November 2018, we shall be celebrating the 2nd World Day of the Poor with the theme, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,” (Ps 34:6). Last year we had a great celebration with lots of fun, games and meals together. This year we shall be celebrating the 2nd World Day of the Poor in conjunction with the 110 years of establishment of the parish of St. Joseph. We are expecting at least 2000 people to come together in celebrating our faith in Jesus and the joy of the establishment of our parish. It is also a time for us to evengelise and reach out to the poor , and celebrate in a spirit of joy with them.
As Church members, we should bind together for the common good and for peace in the world regardless of nationality, religion and ethnic differences. A sense of solidarity and Christian values is necessary to create and sustain a truly good Christian community and society. Your generous contribution towards any project will ensure that we are able to continue our commitment in caring for the poor and marginalised living in our midst. “How good and pleasant it is when people of God live together in unity!” (Ps 133:1).
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy