Madras (India) Pope Francis in his Message for the 4th World Day of the Poor of 15 November 2020 underlined how in the poor one encounters the Lord Jesus present in His weakest brothers and sisters: “Every year, with the World Day of the Poor, I return to this fundamental reality for the life of the Church, because the poor are and will always be with us, to help us to welcome the company of Christ in daily existence. ”
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Indian Province of Saint Thomas the Apostle (INM) sought strategies and resources to respond to the invitation of the Holy Father in the various realities in which they are engaged, moved by the slogan: “To know Christ, we must know the poor. “
Our Lady Center of Immaculate Heart of Mary Community of Madras (Chetpet), invited the poor to the school campus. A hundred people in need from the FMA Schools and from the neighborhood gathered in Saint Mary Mazzarello Hall on the Campus. The day began with Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Charles Gasper, SDB who in his homily underlined the importance of putting oneself at the service of the poor. During the entrance procession, the young people of the boarding school brought trays with provisions for the poor as a sign of God’s Providence. The young people, together with the School Coordinators, distributed food donated by benefactors, teachers, and boarders.
The FMA of Bl. Carmen Moreno Benítez Community of Auxilium Home in Vellore (Katpadi) “reached out to the poor” (cf. Message) providing ten families with a package of food with 5 kg of rice, 1 kg of dhal, 1 liter of oil, and other basic necessities.
The Community of Mary Help of Christians of Vellore came close to the poor in the area helping pilgrims who were begging, and who were accompanied to the FMA House to receive a sack of rice. There were about thirty people who reciprocated the help by expressing their gratitude.
The St. Joseph of Vellore Community (Arni) expressed solidarity with the poor by providing rice to about 50 needy women in the neighborhood.
It was an intense experience for the FMA to see happiness on people’s faces and concretely perceive that the poor are God’s presence and blessing.