Did you know that this past July, some 3.6 million Americans quit their jobs?
Have you ever quit a job? Maybe you’ve been “under-employed” during an economic slowdown or even forced to take on a second job just to help make ends meet. Perhaps you were fired or laid off at one point in your life.
Leaving or losing a job is never easy (believe me, I know!). Transitions are difficult – even small adjustments to our commute, our paycheck or our schedule can be fraught with anxiety. Nonetheless, we persevere, grateful for the opportunities that come our way, and the help we receive in those periods of transition – times, like rainy days and Mondays, that can really get us down.
Half-a-world-away in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, some workers aren’t so fortunate, and every day can seem a rainy Monday. That’s why Father Iftikhar Moon, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate (OMI), is raising funds on MISSIO. He is hard at work disrupting the system that keeps laborers stuck in a never-ending cycle of poverty in his country.
Father Moon runs a program at St. Dominic’s Parish that is designed to end the exploitation of the community he serves. Members of St. Dominic’s parish are often tricked into taking small loans for paying medical bills or sending their children to school in exchange for working for a few weeks in the brick kilns. The loans are a trap door that increase exponentially and can really never be paid off. Sometimes, these debts are even passed on children. Father Moon believes skills like subsistence farming and sewing – even fixing bicycles – will provide alternative earning options to taking these loans. The parish council has begun raising money to provide small business grants and train laborers, but it requires additional funding to make a real impact. That's where MISSIO came in, to help him tell the story of workers in his community, and seek help for them.
But how did this Father Moon become a crusader for his community? “Preaching the Word of God is my passion,” he said. As Father Moon learned the plight of those in his parish, he felt prompted by the spirit of Word of God to help them – and encouraged that his actions were a way to preach by his deeds, hopefully drawing more to the faith by that good and compassionate example.
Father Moon felt called to the priesthood from an early age and was inspired by the witness of Oblate missionaries he met while studying. “My mother told me that she had given me to the Lord when she conceived me in her womb,” said Father Moon. “From childhood, she prayed for me that I might become priest.”
When I asked Father if there was anything that he wanted people to know about him, he offered a modest response, “I’m simply a devoted Catholic priest who would like to work for the most marginalized, neglected and those who are ‘unreached‘ by the Gospel.“
Now even if it is a Monday, I think I see the rain clouds disappearing a bit over Pakistan.
Top and middle photo: Father Moon (pictured wearing sunglasses), and his brother priests visit and pray with brick makers.
Bottom photo: Parishioners of St. Dominic's Parish.
Hi there! I'm Patty from Team MISSIO! I left my life in the for-profit sector some 15 years ago to join the Pope's missions and haven't looked back since. My love of the Mission Church was inspired by my grandfather, an avid reader of both National Geographic and MISSION Magazine. I draw inspiration each and every day from the missionaries I meet who live their lives in service of the Gospel. Sign up for "Patty's Picks" - and I'll see you to share more soon!