Ash Wednesday Pastoral Letter of +Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle
The Lenten season, which begins today, Ash Wednesday, is a time of mercy. It is an acceptable time (cf. 2 Cor 6, 2) to allow ourselves to be reconciled and to be renewed by the tenderness of the Father. It is a time given to us to trace our steps back to the path from which we strayed. God’s merciful love is not asking anything from us, but only that we return to Him and to urify our hearts (cf. JI 2, 12-13).
Now, in her great wisdom, the church invites us to verify the quality of our Lenten commitment also in the light of charity. Indeed, it is charity that must shine above all and fill our hearts, because everything will end one day, with the exception of charity (cf. 1 Cor 13, 8) – a discreet, humble charity that does not make any noise to draw attention to itself, but works quietly and secretly (cf. Mt 6, 1). To practice charity is concrete proof that we are striving to follow Jesus, and that we are making the gift of ourselves the active principle of Christian life.
One of the charitable activities we have been promoting for several years now, especially during the season of lent, is Pondo ng Pinoy’s Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition. Hapag-Asa has been helping to reduce malnutrition prevalence among Filipino children. Mainly because of poverty, more than three out of ten of our children are now stunting in physical and mental development due to prolonged hunger. The development of their full potential will not be achieved unless they are cared for and fed with nutritious food.
Since it started in 2005, Hapag-Asa has helped in feeding more than two million hungry and malnourished children throughout the country. To sustain its gains, it has also capacitated the children’s parents through values education, and skills and livelihood training. For Hapag-Asa to continue on its mission to help these children, Pondo ng Pinoy is once again launching the FAST2FEED 2019 campaign. We hope to provide one hot and nutritious meal a day fir 120 feeding days to atleast 30,000 children. We appeal to your kind hearts. Please support Hapag-Asa. It only takes 1,220.00 for six months – or Php 10.00 per day – to nourish a hungry and undernourished child.
This season of Lent, let us “re-center” our lives on God, who takes the initiative to call us to conversion. Let us deepen our relationship with him, by practicing charity and helping those in need. Let us make a difference in the lives of these hungry and malnourished children by donating whatever we save from fasting to Hapag-Asa. Let us FAST TO FEED our needy children.
May God continue to bless your generosity and charity.
+Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle
Archbishop of Manila