From the Pastor’s Desk – July 9, 2017

Every year we participate in the Diocesan Missionary Cooperative Plan to assist an approved diocese somewhere in the world.  Generally local speakers come to the parish to explain the particular needs in that Diocese, Religious Order, or community.  This year we are assigned Awka Diocese in Nigeria.  We are blessed to have several priests serving in our diocese from Nigeria. Obviously, there will be a second collection on July 15-16 and I trust you will support the needs outlined by the priests who will speak on some of the following needs.

This year, the Diocese of Awka, Nigeria is engaging in several apostolates; hospitals, building residences for seniors, organizing workshops to promote family life, family health and other advocacies and building facilities to train young jobless youth so they may acquire and develop job skills to gain employment in the future.

Here is an excerpt from their mission goal statements. Within the diocese they have a Family and Human Life Unit (FHLU) that takes time to meet with families and local communities, sensitizing families on how to have healthy family relationships and have a healthy environment to nurture children and youth.  This Unit has parish representatives that go to homes encouraging parents to devote time to train and educate their children. They help to facilitate reconciliation with couples who are struggling in their marriages and try to reunite children abandoned on the street by their mothers.  Second, unlike the United States that has social security and other safety nets for Seniors, rural and urban families rely on their children for support. In some cases the children have abandoned the parents because they may not have the resources to help their parents. The diocese of Awka is trying to build housing for seniors through the generosity of people there and here. Third, through the diocesan Justice, Development, Peace Caritas Commission (JDPC) they are teaching job skills to unemployed youth, for example, they have garment-making facilities to train some youth as seamstresses and tailors. The diocese also has a farm to train youth in agriculture and farming practices.  Many youth have benefited from the training in gaining employment that reduces crime and gives their lives meaning and purpose.

We have so many opportunities for education, or employment, or making a difference in our community, church and world.  Please be generous in supporting the Missionary Co-operative collection on July 15 and 16 for the Diocese of Awka, Nigeria, please make your checks out to Saint Anthony parish with “Missionary cooperative” on the memo line.  Blessings,   Father Larry Hendel

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