Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has made it a point to continue in his predecessors footsteps by making pastoral visits across the globe, especially to the world’s poorest, even war-torn nations. During each visit, Pope Francis always offers the faithful spiritual advice to help them strengthen and grow their relationship with God. When he met with young people in the Central African Republic in November 2015, Pope Francis gave them some of his most interesting advice yet: “Be like a banana.”

The answer from the Pope came in response to a young man seeking advice on the temptations he and others face to flee their country ravaged by unrest and civil war. In response, the Holy Father provided insights on love, courage, and peace, using the country’s national fruit: the banana.

He said, “The banana is the symbol of life, it always grows, always produces, gives life, nutrients, energy. The banana plant is very resistant.”

He told the youth that during a difficult time of war, they must extol the virtues of the banana and live its example of resistance:

“Dear friends, some of you want to go away, some of you want to leave. But escaping from the challenges that life presents is never a resolution. We need to resist, to have the courage to resist, to fight so that good can come. Those who flee do not have the courage to give life. The banana gives life and continues to reproduce, giving more and more life because it resists, because it remains, because it’s there.”

The youth asked the Holy Father how they can resist in the face of such adversity like the banana tree does. He replied they must always pray, work for peace, and allow love to win over hate even towards those against you, saying “can one love an enemy? Yes. Can we pardon those who’ve done us wrong? Yes. Thus with love and with forgiveness.”

Before leaving he left them with these final words of sage spiritual advice:

“I wish you all the best – think of the banana. Think of resisting before difficulty. Escaping, going far away, is not a solution. You need to be courageous. Have you understood what it means to be courageous? Courageous and forgiving, courageous and loving, courageous and being peaceful.”

Over two years later, the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Mombasa, Kenya, are taking Pope Francis’ advice to heart: figuratively and literally. Through MISSIO from the Pontifical Mission Societies, you have the ability to make an impact and difference through a charitable donation that will help these Sisters who have a banana farm to support their other ministries, including caring for the hungry and poor in their community, and helping the aging Sisters who have spent their life in similar service.

Launched by Pope Francis himself, MISSIO is a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly help provide aid and assistance to the poorest areas around the world with the most need.

With MISSIO you can directly support the works of Catholic missionaries in the poorest and most desperate areas of the world. Just some of the giving opportunities on MISSIO include helping to bring clean water to Kenyan farmersstart a parish pig farm in Cameroon, train young farmers in Nigeria, or send general support for the Pope’s missions around the world.

Choose one of these missions of Pope Francis knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly there. Share about it on social media so others can support the projects also.

MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.

Start your new year off right by helping the missions of Pope Francis around the world with MISSIO!

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  1. Name: Hatem Abdul Qader Mohammed
    Nationality: Sudanese I am a registered asylum seeker with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Egypt. Neil No: 555-14c02676.
    Date of entry into Egypt, 29/03/2014.
    He was arrested by the Sudanese Security Division from 21/09 / 2013-15 / 02/2014.
    We have been released under 3 conditions:
    1. I will not travel to any country unless I have permission to do so
    2 – I will not tell anyone what happened to me in detention
    3 – to come to their office twice a week
    After my release I found my life in danger so I decided to escape.
    My cousin then helped me by my mother, the senior officer in the Sudanese security department, to flee to Egypt via Khartoum airport.
    She was tortured by all means physically and psychologically.
    I still have signs of torture, and I was taking medicine at MSF / MSF in Egypt. A3132.
    They accused me of being a communist and atheist.
    I refused my case with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt on 25/08/2016 and requested an appeal in 2016/10/4.
    Accepted and met for the second time on 18/07/2017 and a third conversation on 6/8/2017. I have another appointment on 28/09/2017.
    All these interviews I did only to prove Christianity because I converted to Christianity.
    In interviews I said I’m working on radio in my name and my real voice and my picture because this work in Christianity has many problems. As you know I can not declare that I converted to Christianity in Sudan, because we judge by the Islamic government and Muslims turned to the Christian he / she will be persecuted to kill immediately.
    Turning to Christianity and working with Radio Samar in Egypt put my life in danger.
    Can be killed at any time by the hardliners and our government.
    Egyptian security also asked me to go to the Egyptian National Security Office on 09/02/2017 and informed the Legal Department of Refugee Services in Egypt and St. Andrews.
    Unfortunately, UNHCR has not provided any security or humanitarian assistance.
    Now I live with my wife and 3 children, one of the children aged 4 years suffers from heart problems, we have no security, we live in full horror.
    I do not feel safe in Egypt because I am an observer for the Egyptian national security and the Sudanese security people.
    Now I am afraid only for my children, if I am arrested here or killed, my children will be victims.
    They do not have any family, friends or country to go to everyone to give us because I believe in Jesus.
    Christ, my wife and my children know nothing about Egypt, and today they did not ride and did not know how to get to the committee or even the supermarket. What will happen to them, or will they arrest or kill their fate?
    I left my family and friends because I am a Christian. This story is only a small part of our suffering here in Egypt. Please help us, thank the Lord because on 28/09 I received a blue card from the UNHCR. I thank the Committee for that, and now I ask you to bring me to any country. I have no delay in Egypt. As I said before, we expect arrest and death at any moment. I appeal to you in the Lord Jesus Christ to help us and the Lord bless you. “Hatem


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