I have been offering Masses and prayers so that you, the contributors to DLS and the ones you love, will remain safe and joyful this Summer. I also pray that Saint Damien will continue to help us with our mission so that we may continue to have the gift of faith in Jesus to give us the strength and courage to always open our hearts to ease the pain and suffering of others in our world.
For the lepers, our desire has always been to alleviate their pain and sorrow; however, their most immediate needs are still education, clean water, food, clothing, shelter and medication. Providing clean water in the mountain areas where the lepers live is the most difficult task. Drilling through many layers of rock for a minimum of 300 feet is not the only great challenge we face but also the maintenance, distribution, and building of healthy communities. Many people are still drawing water from steams and ponds for daily use. This water is not clean and sometimes it is contaminated with poisons from modern industrial waste and agricultural insecticides.
Teaching sanitation and personal hygiene is the main factor in eradicating this dreadful disease. Many new cases are discovered each year and the chances of recurrences are great due to the unsanitary living conditions. As a result, many people still end up with afflicted and disabled limbs and cannot care for themselves or even move from place to place within their tiny shelter.
There are uncertainties in our world, but the one thing we can be certain of is that these people are loved by God. No one knows and understands the depth of their plight or exactly why God allows this evil disease, but one thing is certain– they need our help. We must continue our mission to set them free from the darkness and misery of leprosy. The gift of human dignity will be magnified in the way we respond to the call of those in need. I see Jesus in them. Let them see Jesus in us.
May Saint Damien, our patron, who gave his life for the lepers on Molokai in Hawaii, continue to pray for you and your family. May God bless us all as we continue to bring consolation and healing to our brothers and sisters, hearts and souls.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Viet Huynh