What is the SMA Birthday Program?
It is a way of raising funds to help offset the costs of educating young men from all over Africa, India and Philippines, to become missionary priests in Africa.
Who operates it?
The SMA Birthday Program is operated by the International Development Office (IDO) of the Society of African Missions (SMA).
What is the Society of African Missions?
The Society of African Missions (SMA) is an international society of catholic missionaries (founded in Lyons, France in 1856) dedicated to spreading the Gospel in Africa and among people of African origin.
What does the program involve?
Those who sign up for the program pledge to give a single donation every year on their birthday to help pay for the training of missionary priests for Africa. They receive a Birthday Greeting each year and are prayed for by name at Mass on the day of their birthday. It’s as simple as that.
Will I be asked for anything else?
No. A single Birthday Donation once a year is all you will be asked for. Your name will not be given to other fundraising programs within the SMA (unless it is already there), or shared with other fundraising groups.
Is my donation tax deductable?
Yes. If you live in the US your donation will be fully tax deductable. The SMA is a registered charity in the United States.
How do I join this program?
You simply fill-in the form at: www.smafathers.org/form, giving us your name and address (including email address) – with the day and month of your birth. Your birthday card will arrive at the appropriate time, with an enclosed envelope for your donation.
How much should I donate?
Donations vary a lot. The bottom line is whatever you can afford. Many people give one day’s salary. Others give a dollar for each year of their life. A few give one dollar for each day of the year. Some young people give part of their allowance. Whatever God moves you to give, we are happy to receive.
Can I donate online?
Yes. Donors in US can donate online at our SMA website at: www.smafathers.org/donate. On the donations page you will see the appropriate box for the International Development Office (IDO). We hope to make this serive available soon to donors outside the USA.
How much of my donation will be used for the intended purpose?
Almost all of it. The expenses to run the Program are small – mostly postal and printing costs (printing and mailing birthday cards and acknowledgements), and travel costs (to search for more birthday sponsors). To keep expenses to a minimum the director of the IDO runs the office by himself without salary, and sometimes receives the help of volunteers.
Are there any other birthday program options?
Yes. A number of sponsors have included the birthdays of deceased family members and friends, and make a donation as a way of remembering them and thanking God for them. Others tell their friends that instead of giving them a birthday present, they are making a donation on their behalf to the SMA Birthday Program.
Why link my donation to my Birthday?
A birthday is an annual “road marker” on a person’s journey through life. It is a good day to celebrate, but it is also a good day to pause a moment and to thank God for the gift of life. Many people receive greetings and gifts on their birthday, and this is good. By joining our Birthday Program we are giving you the opportunity to celebrate the gift of your life by offering something in return to God who gave you this gift. Helping to spread His Good News is a fitting way to thank Him once a year for the gift of your life.
If you would like to make a Birthday Pledge….
Complete the Birthday Pledge Form which you may then submit online or mail to: Fr Pat Kelly SMA, SMA Fathers, 23 Bliss Avenue, Tenafly, NJ 07670, USA
You may make your Birthday Donation online, or mail a check (made payable to SMA International Development) to Fr Pat Kelly SMA.
Donors outside the USA may contact Fr Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn of other ways to locally submit their Birthday Donation.
My pledge to you…
I will send you a birthday card each year to greet you. I also promise to pray for you. Each month I make a list of all donors who celebrate their birthdays that month. That list stays in the book I use for celebrating Mass. During the Mass on your birthday I quietly mention your name, asking the Lord to bless you. This also means, of course, that your name is on the altar at each Mass during the month of your birthday. As a supporter of the SMA you are also remembered in the Masses and prayers of all our communities throughout the world.
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