In 1219, at the height of the Fifth Crusade, St. Francis of Assisi sailed across the Mediterranean. He arranged a meeting in Damietta, Egypt, with Sultan Malek al-Kamil, commander of the Muslim forces. St. Francis, being an excellent communicator, believed that by engaging the influential sultan in conversation about peace they might bring an end to the long conflict raging between the Europeans and the Muslims. Francis crossed the battle lines unarmed and met with the enemy general. Both men were deeply touched by that meeting.
In 1996, we founded AmericanCatholic.org to continue that tradition of dialogue in the spirit of Sts. Francis, Clare and Anthony. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to operate our Web sites and e-newsletters that so many find helpful in living a more fully human and Christian life. This year, OnceCatholic.org, a pastoral site for lapsed Catholics, cost us $4,793 to staff and maintain. “Ask a Franciscan,” a page dedicated to answering Catholics’ questions about their faith, will cost $5,761 in operating expenses in 2008.
But you’ve told us what you wanted. Here’s what one visitor said: “Thank you so much for the beautiful experience I felt reading this Web site. I appreciate the work you do to answer all our questions. God bless you.” Another wrote: “I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the gift of your Web site…. I just thought I had to write and express my gratitude to helping (keep) my faith on the right track.”
We really do rely on your input to help us do better!
This year, we’ve provided in-person reporting on Pope Benedict XVI’s U.S. visit, an online column from the Vatican by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington during the special world Synod of Bishops on Scripture and special coverage on the Year of St. Paul. We provided new e-greetings, and many thousands of you have enjoyed sending them to one another. And, of course, one of our most popular pages is “Saint of the Day.”
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Use our secure online donation form or you can mail a donation to Evangelization Fund, St. Anthony Messenger, 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. If you prefer, you can phone in a credit-card donation to our Evangelization Fund at (513) 241-5615 or, in the U.S., at 800-488-0488.
We wish you all the blessings of the Advent season as we prepare for the coming of the Lord in our midst.
Peace and good,
Fr. Dan Kroger, O.F.M.Publisher,
St. Anthony Messenger Press and Franciscan Communications