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  • Mar
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Partners supporter lends a hand

Posted By March 20, 2015 | 1:56 pm | Featured Article #3

A Partners in Charity supporter personally reached out to help another supporter after hearing about a touching letter sent to Bishop McManus. It is a story of one member of the family of God reaching out to support another; one that exemplifies faith in action.
Michael Gillespie, director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, said that it is not unusual for the Bishop to receive personal letters from donors to Partners in Charity and that all letters are acknowledged by his office. But this particular letter from a woman in her 90s especially touched the hearts of all who read it.
For confidentiality reasons Mr. Gillespie calls the woman Esther. He said there are many men and women such as Esther throughout the diocese who just barely make ends meet yet are generous to their Church. He made a phone call to Esther and asked her permission to share her story.  Her letter follows.

Dear Bishop McManus,
    I am almost 92 years old, I have been a widow since 2003 and trying to stay in my own home as long as I can as I cannot afford a nursing home. My husband enlisted in the Army in 1939, spent almost 6 1/2 years and fought in the Battle of the Bulge living in a foxhole for almost 2 months, got frost bitten hands and feet and suffered all his life and also he received 10 years of disability.
    Three weeks before he died he had to have his right leg up to his thigh amputated. He was in a nursing home almost 2 years. He lovingly built our home in 1950 and things are deteriorating and my money is running out. Several years ago I had to have the stone walkway into the house repaired and this winter many stones on the foundation are separating from around the cement and I will have to have this fixed again.

    Prayers, and Good Luck, Esther

“Enclosed in her pledge envelope was a check for $25 an increase of $5 from last year,” Mr. Gillespie explained.
But the story doesn’t end there, he said.
“Moved by this heartfelt letter, I shared this story with a friend of Partners in Charity who was visiting the Chancery and this person was so touched by the faithfulness of this lady that they wanted to reach out to Esther and provide this 92-year-old  woman with a gift so that she could make some minor repairs, stay a little warmer this winter and have a few extra groceries in her pantry,” Mr. Gillespie related.
“I called Esther and introduced myself, thanking her sincerely for her years of supporting our charity appeal, which she knew as the Bishops’ Fund.
“Esther shared with me that even with her increased gift she wished she could have given more to help the church she so loves. I told this wonderful woman that someone today wanted to help her in return and bless her with a gift of $1,000. She started to weep with joy, telling me that she was unable to attend Mass weekly because she was physically incapacitated, but every first Friday a eucharistic minister would visit her and she would receive holy Communion. She also shared that she never lost hope or faith. It was clear that Esther still missed her husband who built the family home himself stone by stone and how he had never complained.”
Mr. Gillespie wrote a letter to diocesan priests and other supporters of the diocesan appeal telling them Esther’s story.
“I want you to know that I share this letter today not to make anyone feel sad, but in the added hope that the generosity of these two people, whose hearts were connected, will inspire all of us and strengthen our own faith commitment. It is a reminder to us of how good and generous our God is and how he continues to work through us, in his Church.
“Recently I read how a ‘maintenance church’ looks at the community and asks, ‘How can we get these people to support our parish?’ But a ‘mission church’ asks, ‘How can the Church support these people?’
“Today, in a special way, the Mission Church responded, and ever so lovingly,” he concluded.
Partners in Charity supports the following agencies and ministries:

Charity: Catholic Charities,
Clergy Retirement,
Retired Priests Health Ministry,
Haitian Apostolate,
McAuley Nazareth Home for Boys,
Pernet Family Health Services,
Seminarian Health Insurance,
St. John’s Cemetery System,
Diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development

Education: Catholic Campus Ministry,
Catholic Schools Office,
Office of Religious Education,
Ongoing Priestly Formation,
Youth and Young Adult Ministry,
Seminarian Education,
Grants-in-Aid for Catholic School Students,
Central Catholic Schools Subsidy,
Advanced Studies for Clergy and Laity,
Communications Office

Ministry: African Ministry,
Hispanic Ministry,
Office of Marriage and Family,
Minister to Priests,
Office of the Diaconate,
Respect Life Office,
Cathedral of St. Paul,
Vocations Office,
Office for Divine Worship,
Wells Street House