I finally took time off from work after Christmas. For us at Catholic World Mission, the Christmas season is the busiest time of the year, and this is the time when donations are at their peak.
My children were not complaining that I took off from work, mind you. We had an excellent time enjoying all that New York City has to offer at Christmas. There's the Broadway plays, pastrami on rye at Junior's, Rockefeller Center, Chelsea Market, coffee at Grand Central station, and of course, New York pizza. Nothing beats New York City pizza!
Once while riding the subway, my second oldest daughter said, "Dad, I can tell you are really having a great time with us. Are you sure everything is fine with Catholic World Mission? It is unlike you to not even talk for one second about Catholic World Mission. Are all the projects fully funded? Has the team reached out to all the donors as planned?" (If you were wondering why my daughter was curious about the business it is because she interned for us during the summer. She helped design our website, and even helped create some of the proposals for select projects).
My response took my daughter by surprise. I said,
"Everything is successful. We are 100% successful, 100% of the time."
She said, "That couldn't be true. I know of some of your projects that have been waiting for funding. What about those?" And so, I explained:
"We measure things against a higher dimension at Catholic World Mission, and that is what makes everything we do 100%, successful 100% of the time (well, almost. I'll explain later). If we measure success based on the projects we've completed, the number of people we've helped, the number of families lifted out of poverty, or of children that have completed their education, or even any number of financial and quantifiable measures, then we are far from having a 100% success rate. We certainly have our share of heartbreaks. Every time we can't fund a project for lack of interest or support, our heart aches and our staff doubles our time in prayer.
But our mission is clear at Catholic World Mission. We don't simply measure things against earthly dimensions. Our mission is to glorify God in the things we do. Our donors and benefactors understands this. And that's why we take risks. We select projects not knowing if, or when they will be funded (if ever). A donor may start funding a project costing several thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars with a simple $25 donation. But the donor does not lose hope, and neither do we. The $25 donor counts on other good-hearted individuals to do their part. We connect good-hearted people with other good-hearted individuals so that together they can do more good than they can alone. When our donors give, they are spiritually connected, not only with the people they help, but with many other generous people doing the will of God. Our donors give because by doing so, they manifest the love and goodness of God to others. And in this, God is glorified.
But what makes everything we do 100% successful 100% of the time? Because we do things with 'holy indifference'. We give our best - our time, talent, and best effort to genuinely find a way to help our poor brothers and sisters in need; without worry about the eventual earthly success of the project. We believe our projects are successful before it is even begun if we offer them for the glory of God. It is only when we do things for accolades or for selfish reasons that they are not 100% successful. We hope, pray, and work for all our projects to be successful (in earthly terms) but we take comfort in trusting that ultimately it is up to God to decide what their eventual outcome will be in the future. We have a saying inside the company:
"If God wants a project to happen then he'll open the door for us to meet people that can help. If God keeps the door closed, then He has His reasons.
All we can do is trust."
As the Christmas-giving season ends, and as we begin the new year having successfully completed many projects last year, I want to thank you for being part of the Catholic World Mission family. Thank you for glorifying God by your generosity towards our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. I hope we can continue counting on your support.
The work is never-ending, for the Lord himself said to his disciples, 'the poor will always be with you.' But the Lord also said to his disciples, "I am with you always, until the end of age'. We will continue to hold our hope in God in this coming year even with much fewer donations this Christmas than we had been hoping for - 'for with God nothing shall be impossible'.
Here's wishing you an abundant of blessings this new year. We look forward to continue praying for your intentions this year. And yes, here's to another year of 100% success 100% of the time. Praise be to God the Almighty!