“I am the living bread come down from heaven. He who eats of this bread will live forever; the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be without the Eucharist? What would you say if you came to Mass one Sunday and found that Mass had been cancelled because there were no hosts for the Eucharist? Or maybe when it was your turn to receive Holy Communion, you couldn’t receive because there were no more hosts, even though they had been broken into tiny fragments to make sure there would be enough for everybody.
That is probably a scenario that has never crossed our minds, yet for our Catholic brothers and sisters in Venezuela, it is a stark reality today. The severe economic and political crisis in their country, with the subsequent shortages of food, has made it very difficult to obtain the wheat flour needed to confect the hosts for the Eucharist. Consequently, Masses are being cancelled and hosts broken into very tiny particles.
In the Spring of 2017, I became aware of an appeal for wheat flour from the congregation of the Siervas de Jesús in Caracas, Venezuela. This is a community of nuns dedicated to making hosts for many parishes in the country. With the help of some fellow parishioners and the Knights of Columbus, I was able to send down flour shipments in August, 2017, and in May, 2018.
The problem of the lack of communion hosts for churches in Venezuela is compounded by the fact that the sisters have only one very old machine with a single iron for baking the hosts, which makes the process very time-consuming and inefficient. For cutting the hosts, the sisters use an antiquated mechanical device that cuts hosts manually one at a time. There is an intermediate step between the baking and the cutting of the hosts, but the sisters are currently having to skip this step because they lack a "steam cell" or vaporizer. Cutting the baked sheets without first steaming them produces hosts with rough edges, cracks and crumbs.
This is the equipment the sisters need and which I would like to purchase for them with your help:
1.- A double-iron machine with a more automated operation which will increase the number of hosts that can be made in a shorter time.
2.- A steam cell which can humidify 80 sheets of hosts at once.
3.- A host-cutting machine that can cut 80 hosts at once.
The idea is to expedite this process and make it more efficient so more parishes will be able to have the communion hosts they need. I decided to undertake this project to help the nuns even though I do not have any fundraising experience; in fact, I very much dislike asking for money at all. But I believe this is a worthy cause and its success will give greater glory to God and lift the spirits and increase the hope of our Catholic brothers and sisters in Venezuela who are suffering so much. These machines would be impossible for the sisters to acquire on their own, given the dire economic crisis currently affecting Venezuela. With your help, I would like to purchase this equipment for the sisters, even though I know that this is a costly project involving difficult challenges. However, I know that nothing is impossible for God, and if this is His will, He will bring this project to fruition.
I located a manufacturer of these machines in Perugia, Italy. The name of the factory is Papini Officina, and I have been in conversation with them about our project. The cost of the baking machine with dual plates is € 47,000, the cost of the steam cell is €6,600, and the cost of the cutting machine is € 16,000. These prices would normally be higher, but the manufacturer is giving us a discount. Shipping and packing costs are additional, and we also need to cover air fare from Italy to Venezuela and accommodation expenses for the technician that will be assembling and installing the equipment there.
The machines will take one year to be manufactured, and 20% of the cost will need to be paid at the time the order is placed. The initial goal of this campaign is to raise enough funds to cover the down payment, and then we will work on raising the balance. The funds that we will raise in this campaign will be sent to the Papina Officina factory in Italy.
Our brothers and sisters in Venezuela are in need of food, medicine, and many other material things. They are weary in spirit and worn by despair. By making sure they can continue to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist during these difficult times, we can give them the gifts of mercy and hope. I humbly present this need to you and I am most appreciative, on behalf of the Siervas de Jesus, of your support.
Won’t you join us with your prayers and your financial help? God bless you for your generosity! Thank you for taking time to read my campaign and won't you please share this campaign with your relatives and friends? God bless you!
- Ann Vaccaro
- Mary Simpson
- Christian Allen
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