Christ exhorts us: ‘Remain in My love!’ (Jn 15:9). He has given us the Holy Eucharist – His Golgotha and the gift of His presence – so that we can indeed remain in His love.

No grace is greater than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In 2015 you gave 1,431,380 Mass stipends for priests. In doing so you helped one priest in every nine around the world by your offerings. Their profound gratitude for this is expressed in their numerous letters to us, promising joyfully to offer these Masses for you and your intentions. In most cases the money you give them in the form of these stipends is used for vital basic necessities, not just for the priests themselves but also for others still poorer than they are, and for the sick and elderly. And sometimes this money is also invested in the spiritual life.

This is the case with the 29 priests of the diocese of San Martín in Argentina. They have written personally to thank you for your Mass offerings, which meant they could take part in a theological seminar on God’s Mercy.

Father José Giacomello is 85 and was ordained in 1957 by the then Patriarch of Venice, who later became Pope John XXIII. A year later he arrived in Buenos Aires. It means so much to him to gather with his brother priests and experience the solidarity of the universal Church, the Communion of the Saints.

Father José Calnera also warmly thanks you for this opportunity ‘to revitalise the sacerdotal bond with my fellow priests’. Other priests tell us about the ‘difficult economic situation’ in the country – without actually mentioning that Argentina is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Your Mass offerings allows many priests to survive in Crimea. People are unable to buy very much as they can only afford the cheapest of goods, says Bishop Jacek Pyl of Odessa-Simferopol. ‘Unemployment is incredibly high, and food imports from Ukraine have been blocked. Travelling in and out of the peninsula by car is practically impossible.’

Nobody knows how long the current situation will last. So now he is planning an emergency aid programme to help the poorest families. But it won’t be possible without the priests. Already they are sharing all they have with their parishioners and with the poorest of the poor – and when they have nothing else, then they console them, providing their prayers and counselling.

The auxiliary bishop has asked for more Mass stipends, and we have sent him additional offerings.

Jesus has said, ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Mt 28:20). In your kindness you are helping to fulfil this promise, and in so doing you are helping the people of Crimea both materially and spiritually.

This article can be found in Mirror 0716.