A leading UK Catholic children’s charity has said it has been “so touched” after receiving a personal letter of encouragement from the Archbishop of Westminster for it’s ‘every child’s birthday’ celebration.
The touching letter received today by World Villages for Children includes a personal prayer for the children written by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
Today is August 15th, and on this day every year our Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption. But for 20,000 of the world’s poorest children in the loving care of the Sisters of Mary, this day has an added significance – it is their ‘birthday’. Most have never known a birthday celebration, and many don’t even know their age or birth date. They have never had the luxury of a gift, or birthday cake so this special celebration is a chance for them to experience the precious joy of childhood, that so many are able to take for granted.
Thanks to the dedication and loving care of the Sisters in schools, nurseries, training and medical centres in the Philippines, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, and Tanzania, the children receive free education, food, clothing, and care and learn the vocational and social skills they need to find local employment, gain confidence and self-respect.
The Sisters of Mary offer hope to the most vulnerable people in the poorest communities through practical support, education, and training. Every child finds friendship, security, love, and hope when they come to the Sisters of Mary. They are given three meals a day, academic and vocational education and training, sporting activities, and pastoral care. And on the Feast of the Assumption the sisters also celebrate Every Child’s Birthday, giving them each their own small gift and birthday celebration.
“On such an important occasion, it is only right that you should receive a gift!” said His Eminence.
“Indeed, your education is such a very precious gift. It is truly God-given. It is a gift to be nurtured and to be shared with others as you journey through life. May you always feel the love of Our Blessed Lord and be inspired to reach your full potential.
“A few years ago, in 2016, Pope Francis told young people at the World Youth Day that: ‘Nothing is more beautiful than seeing the enthusiasm, dedication, zeal and energy with which so many young people live their lives. When Jesus touches a young person’s heart, he or she becomes capable of truly great things,” the Cardinal wrote.
“Never underestimate the power of prayer, of sharing your concerns and your joys with God. And, most especially, do not forget to thank God for all his gifts to you, your education being a very important one, one that will enable you to become ‘capable of truly great things’.”
Cardinal Vincent then concluded his letter with a special prayer for the children:
“Dear Lord, Thank you for being with me as I journey through, life. Thank you for the Sisters of Mary and for my teachers who give me the benefit of an education. Please give me the courage to grasp the opportunities that come my way so that I may fully embrace the gifts that I am given. And, to readily share those gifts with others. Please always hold me in your immense love and joy through every stage of my being. Amen.
HE Cardinal Vincent Nichols
“May Our Blessed Lady pray for you. With every blessing and a very Happy Birthday!”, the Cardinal said.
World Villages for Children, the UK Catholic charity that supports the work of the Sister of Mary, said that today is “a day of undiluted joy for these children. They look forward to it for months before and talk about it for months, sometimes years afterwards – making memories that last them a lifetime.
We are “so touched that the Cardinal’s message is being shared with every child in our schools worldwide today,” the charity said.
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