NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America issued a special encyclical declaring Sunday, November 14 as National Philoptochos Sunday. The Archbishop stated that “the Philoptochos provides us all with examples of courage and generosity in action.”
He based his encyclical on the verse: “And who is my neighbor?” from the Gospel according to St. Luke (Luke 10:29).
The full message follows:
“On this National Philoptochos Sunday, we rejoice with gratitude and appreciation for the many labors and ministries of our Philoptochos societies nationwide. Their constant and consistent philanthropy answers the question of that lawyer who prodded our Lord Jesus Christ about who was deserving of the recognition of their humanity and the love that fulfills the Second and Great Commandment: ‘You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18). For decades, the Philoptochos has answered the question ‘And who is my neighbor?’ with a resounding: ‘Everyone!’
Thus, it is most appropriate that the Sunday on which we read the Parable of the Good Samaritan is the day on which we should remember our good sisters in Christ. Their service to the Church and to humanity transcends the categories that keep us separate from one another on the basis of any defining characteristic. For the Philoptochos, it is enough to be human, and to be in need, for their compassion and mercy to flow.
The Philoptochos provides us all with examples of courage and generosity in action. They shine a light into our souls, so that we can discover for ourselves how much love of neighbor is within our hearts. Let us support these sisters in the Lord in every way we can, and through their ministry of love, extend our own love to every neighbor, both known and unknown, for we are one human family, under one God Who reigns supreme above all.”