According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word solidarity comes from the Latin word solidum, or whole sum and the French word solidaire, or characterized by solidarity. We know the English word to mean unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
From its' foundation by soon-to-be beatified Venerable Pauline Marie Jaricot, the Propagation of the Faith, a Pontifical Mission Society, has worked to bring all people of faith into actions of solidarity -- prayer and financial support for the good of the whole.
Saint John Paul II said this about Pauline, "Having allowed herself to be touched by the poor and those who did not know God, Pauline created a collection in favor of the missionary activity of the Church, asking each person to make a sacrifice in union with God and communion with ones' neighbor."
Even during these challenging times, we continue Pauline's work of solidarity with the whole world.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in Bangladesh, where the Catholic Church has always been close to the poor and most vulnerable. Fr. Rodon Hadima, National Director of The Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS) in Bangladesh, is grateful that the recently established TPMS COVID19 Emergency Fund has allowed him to help support the hungry. Due to the local lockdown, many have lost their jobs and run out of food. Donations from our fund are being used to provide the bare necessities to those in need.
At the same time, the Bangladeshi Church is standing in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world. Father Hadima has sent a letter to all the dioceses of his country, asking Catholics to contribute to the Emergency Fund from what little they have. "We hope to do our part as The Pontifical Mission Societies of Bangladesh. We also want to express our thanks because our community has been among the beneficiaries of this special TPMS fund," Father states.
The Director concludes, "This crisis gives us the opportunity to share our solidarity with the poor, the last, and the rejected. The Catholic Church of Bangladesh is making every effort to be close to the people. In the name of Christ's charity, our volunteers have activated, throughout the country, works of charity, assistance to the sick, and those in need."
Through the work founded by Venerable Pauline Jaricot, continued daily by the Propagation of the Faith, we ask you to stand today, in prayerful solidarity, with the Church in Bangladesh and beyond.
For more information on the needs of the mission Church, go to www.propfaithboston.org.
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.