“He who has an eye of compassion will be blessed, because he breaks his bread and gives it to the poor” (Proverbs 22,9). The Month of Charity and Love is the time that the Catholic Church in Rwanda has set aside for Catholic Christians in particular, as well as any other person with a good heart, to sanctify themselves through acts of love.
The Catholic Church in Rwanda wants the month of Compassion and Love to be on the eighth month of every year because that is the time when Christians get a harvest so they can share what they have with the poor. It is during this month that Rwandan Caritas is built and supported primarily based on the abilities of Christians.
The Month of Charity and Love was established in the meeting of the General Assembly of Caritas Rwanda that met in December 1997. It was announced to all the parishes in the month of July 1998 that in this month there should be activities aimed at helping the suffering in order to prevent the culture of begging. This is in line with the commandment of the Lord Jesus where he says: “Give them what to eat yourselves” (Mt 14, 16).
It has become part of the tradition of Catholic Christians in Rwanda that in this month everyone does whatever it takes to make a sacrifice to help those in danger either in Rwanda or abroad.
In this Month of Charity and Love, Catholic Christians and others with a good heart are asked to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ’s love and to join others in doing acts of charity such as helping the needy, visiting the sick and prisoners, listening and counselling the sad and depressed, and other acts of lending a hand to those in danger .
In collecting funds for the poor and the needy, not only money is needed. There is a need for various materials including clothes, household items, cleaning materials, and anything else that a person can find and that would be useful to those in need.
As the Gospel reminds us in Matthew 25, 35-40: ‘’For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”). This word of God will accompany the person who wants to sanctify himself before God, when he leaves this life on earth.
The Gospel also encourages us to give ourselves to help those who are suffering in the passage that says: “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” Luke 6,36. “He who gives is more blessed than he who receives”. (Acts of the Apostles 20.35).
The month of Charity and Love is therefore an opportunity to show our faith in acts of love. Contributions from all Parishes are distributed as follows: Parish Caritas keeps a quarter (1/4) of it to help the poor and needy of the parish, and three fourths (3/4) is shared between Diocese Caritas and Caritas Rwanda in an equal way to support the needy.
At all levels of the Church, what is found helps disadvantaged students in their studies, those who have faced various disasters, those who have no shelter, those who do not have daily meals, those who are unable to get medical treatment, among others, and this is done at all levels.
Therefore, in addition to material and financial support, the month of Charity and Love is an occasion to support the needy in various ways, including: visiting them and helping them get out of isolation, visiting the sick in hospitals, visiting prisoners, etc.
In efforts to help the poor and needy, there is no discrimination, everyone who needs help is reached out to, regardless of religion, language, national color or place of origin.
Learning to help others from those who are close to them, but don’t go back there, but help others from the poor, the hungry, the sick, the sick, and all the others who don’t have a chance.
It’s very important to learn how to be compassionate, through helping our neighbors and anyone else who seeks our help, whether an acquaintance or not, whether sad, hungry, the sick with no one to care for them, and anyone else in need. “What you did to one of my humble brothers, you did to me” (MT 25,40).