Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Lenten Appeal


I am writing to ask your renewed support for the works of the International Dominican Foundation (IDF), USA. Many of you would like to support these good works in Jerusalem, Rome and Cairo but for various reasons you have been unable to do so.  I have spoken to various individuals who were "willing but not able" to support this past year. I asked them what they meant and their replies were common.  "This year I was only able to give an amount hardly worth the time." I understand how circumstances work against our giving what we would like to give but here is where the real mystery of charitable givng appears. In life God calls us to give, not because we help the needy, though true. No, God calls us to give because it helps us. Recall the story of the young man in Mark's gospel. He wanted to discover eternal life. He knew all the laws and felt self-satisfied in his being obedient to them, but still he wanted something more. In his seeking, Jesus instructed him about the real meaning of charity, the simple act of giving: "Go sell what you have and give it to the poor" (Matthew 19:21). When we give to those in need we let go of something that has been holding us back. The English translation uses the word "to sell" but there is another meaning, "to exchange, to barter," there is more commerce more a trade involved in being charitable than we normally imagine.  When we give to charity there is an exchange of sorts, we give and we receive. Jesus looked on this young man with love, more than that, He looked into the man. Perhaps it is this gaze, a loving look into our deepest self, that is the source of true charity. The commerce of giving is an exchange, a giving part of our self to the other and our receiving something in return.  Your gifts mean a great deal to the works of the Order.  Never fear that your gift is "not worth the time," being charitable isn't bidding on eBay. It is more "eucharistic" in character, a "holy exchange of gifts".  Being charitable changes us, it is a moment of self discovery, of realizing our real worth.

A number of you have asked for me to again send out the run down of projects and needs I sent in November for the "Thanks and Giving" mailing. I am happy to do so because it helps us see how charitable giving bears fruit in the people who serve these projects so well.  The needs are real and your gift is transformed into the lives of real people, a true exchange of gifts. Here is just a high-light of some of the people that are part of the Dominican Order's works in Jerusalem, Rome and Cairo. You can read about more people and the work being done in the projects by going to our past and current newsletters. If you missed these profiles in the November appeal I think you will be pleased to see how charitable giving translates into lived relationships. Please consider being part of this and supporting us in the way that best meets your reality.

The works of the Order in Jerusalem, Rome and Cairo carry on a legacy of learning that has been at the heart of every Dominican for almost 800 years. Your charitable support is critical, especially today when the challenge is so great. I hope you know how much we need your help, so please consider helping us, for the needs are real.

Fr. Michael Demkovich, O.P.
President of IDF
ROME:  The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

The buildings that house the Angelicum were established as a convent for Dominican nuns by Pope Pius V in 1575 but they were expropriated by the Italian government in 1871 when it suppressed the religious orders. It was not until 1927 when the Order was able to negotiate buying it back to house the Angelicum.  A building with such a profound history has the natural costs that historic buildings must bear. These are the extraordinary costs you can help support .

Palazzo construction project-                                                  $12,534,900.00
Classroom renovations-                                                          $     588,740.25
Implementing a computer network-                                         $     469,900.00
Outfitting classrooms with audiovisual equipment-                 $      228,600.00