I was really surprised by how I felt and how profoundly it affected me when I finally became a CARITAS sponsor. I had been busy with parish responsibilities as a pastor and in my duties with CARITAS For Children, helping invite others to find this joy for themselves of loving another person in a visible and tangible way. Deep down, though, I knew full well I could not ask others to embrace what I was not living, but I just did not clear a space in my mind and heart to choose a child. For whatever reason it seemed daunting to me.
It wasn’t about the financial sacrifice involved – when I thought of what I spent money on for other things, many superficial and fleeting, throughout the year, how could any of that possibly match the impact I could have on another person, helping transform their life? Then everything came together. I had mentioned to one of our staff members a while back that I’d like to sponsor a child, but I hadn’t taken the step of looking on the CARITAS website to see children who were in need of support. She never forgot and one day she told me they had found a child intended just for me, a six-year-old boy by the name of Pius, personally chosen by the Sisters at his current school, Stella Maris in Nkokonjeru, Uganda, because of his potential and the great promise he shows.
Pius, sponsored by Fr. LoBianco through CARITAS' child sponsorship programs
“The Sisters wanted to choose a special child for you, Father,” I was told. The feeling I had at that moment is hard to describe – humbled, graced, and kind of shocked at the realization that I would make this difference in his life and he would have an opportunity for a better life because God chose me to communicate His love. Even though this happened a few months ago, it still fills me with gratitude and awe when I think of this privilege afforded me to affect another person’s life for good.
I said Pius was a special child for me, but really isn’t every child special – a gift, a blessing, a sign of the Creator and His love among us? The act of loving another person reminds us that we’re all children of God, who calls us to love each other the way He loves us – with abundance, joy, mercy, and the generosity of our whole heart and spirit!
Fr. LoBianco, Director of Catholic Mission and Evangelization, on a mission trip with some Haitian children supported through CARITAS' child sponsorship programs.
I now know much more fully how really true those words are that I preach to others when I present our CARITAS For Children mission to parish communities, inviting them to discover as I did, the joy that wells up within you when you love another person, a child, in the name of Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that we might see and love in others what He sees and loves in us. Enrich your life and that of your child in a joy almost indescribable when you choose to love them. In the end it was easy for me and it will be for you too.