Dear Parishioners: The images of the death and destruction of Typhoon Haiyan in the  devastated parts of the Philippines are shocking.  The news media have provided  countless scenes of those still suffering with limited shelter, food and water.  Certainly our thoughts and prayers continue for the victims of the Super 930-Jgs1g_AuSt_55Typhoon. Last Sunday, during his weekly Angelus message, Pope Francis expressed his solidarity and pledged his support to the victims.  He also led prayers for people hit by the deadly typhoon in the Philippines and surrounding region, and asked that concrete aid be sent soon.  Pope Francis said: "I wish to express my closeness to the people of the Philippines and that region that has been hit by a terrible typhoon. Unfortunately the victims are many and the damage is enormous.” He asked the tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s square to join him in a moment of silent prayer "for these brothers and sisters and let's try also to make our concrete help reach them." In response to the tragedy, Pope Francis made an initial donation of $150,000 for the relief efforts through the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. Let us continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.  If you would also like to help the relief effort, I encourage you to donate directly to the CRS-logoCatholic Relief Services in support of their relief work.  This week’s bulletin contains the address, phone number and website to which you can directly donate to help the victims.   Catholic Relief Services has for seventy years faithfully provided relief efforts for the poor, vulnerable and suffering for the U.S. Bishops and American Catholic Church.  They do great work in the name of Christ for the suffering across the globe.  Keep praying for those suffering from the typhoon. Of course there are also needs in our own area for those who suffer in poverty and want.  Any donations you make to the Monthly Outreach Collection at OLM during November and December will help purchase food for the hungry at Thanksgiving and  simple gifts like warm hats and gloves for the needy at Christmas.  Your support of the Outreach Collection is a great sign  of your love of the poor and needy.  Over the last months we have continue to support the good works of McAuley House, Emmanuel House, and Whitmarsh House with donations of $1,000. Also, your donations to Outreach continue to support our efforts to help the economically struggling in our own area pay utility bills, purchase food and afford costly prescriptions. The food items donated weekly in the large food bin in the vestibule is in urgent need as more and more seem to be struggling to make ends meet in this tough economy.  Be assured your donations are put to good use and are in great need.  In the name of the poor and needy you so generously and lovingly support, I offer my thanks and deep gratitude.  Emmanuel House Photo The tremendous amount of good work by the Catholic Church for the poor and needy is really an untold story in the news media.  From parishes like ours to the homeless shelters and food pantries across the globe  as well as the work of the major aid agencies like Catholic Relief Services and Cor Unum, we as Catholics can take great pride in our commitment to help serve the poor regardless of their race, nationality or religion.  It reminds me of the wonderful words of Pope Benedict XVI: “Within the community of believers there can never be room for a poverty that denies anyone what is needed for a dignified life."  While it is usually during the upcoming “holiday” season that many in our society become more aware of those in need,  the  charity offered year-round by  the parishioners of OLM is truly a great witness to the Gospel.  It is something we can all be proud of as “the community of believers” at OLM.   Next week we celebrate the great solemnity of Christ the King as the Church Year ends and we prepare for Advent.  Thanksgiving Day is coming soon too. Let us give all thanks and praise to Christ our King, long may He reign in our parish, in our homes and in our hearts!!