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Beloved People of God:

Three hundred fifty thousand sugar cane workers in Negros have no work.  Sixty-six percent of the children are malnourished.  Nineteen sugar mills no longer function.

Statistics such as these are devoid of emotion and feeling--until they become flesh and blood figures of men and women despairing for today's bread, spiritless figures of small children, thin and famished, crying for any morsel of food that their parents can provide.  They are frustrated and desperate.  They are brothers and sisters.

We hear the Lord's cry through them.  For it is through people like those on the verge of starvation in Negros that the Lord Jesus speaks to us:  "I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink...  sick and you took care of me ...  whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me." (Mt. 25: 35-40).

Beloved People of God, we, as your pastors, appeal to you to be with us in reaching out to the poor and suffering of Negros.

We know that many of us are likewise suffering.  But the Lord loves even more deeply those who share generously from their poverty and suffering.

All donations from you will be forwarded to our sister-Church in Negros for distribution to those in need.

Before God we thank you for your generosity and love to the "least of my brethren."  With our blessings,

In the Lord,

For the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines:

Archbishop of Davao
CBCP President

July 9, 1985

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