Most of Salesian houses met the call of the Church and our provincial and performed various activities to celebrate the First World Day for the Poor, proposed by Pope Francis for November 19, 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Some of them shared their experiences with us.
RAMSEY: Don Bosco Prep Students Assist Homeless in Jersey City
By Craig Dietel
On Sunday November 19, the Speak Out Club of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., spearheaded by alumnus Michael McLean, embarked on a trip to Journal Square in Jersey City to give their time and effort to help the poor on World Day of the Poor. After a week of preparation, DBP’s students were on site for a full day of service distributing winter clothing and hygiene items to the poor as well as cooking and sharing a meal with the homeless.
MARRERO: Shaw Students Conduct Successful Food Drive for Those in Need
Story and photo by Bro. Jerry Meegan, SDB
The students of Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, La., started a food drive for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. The food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank for distribution to the poor. The students coupled these drives with the school’s annual Thanksgiving food drive. At the annual Grandparents Day Mass before the beginning of the Thanksgiving break, Leroy Homes, Student Government president, announced to Fr. Lou Molinelli, director, that the results of the food drive surpassed its goal, which was 18,000 cans of food or food items. Well over 18,000 items were collected to be passed on to Second Harvest. All of this was in time to observe the first World Day of the Poor.
Photo: Students working on the food drive collection. (l-r.) Leroy Holmes, Angelo Charles, Ryan Taix, Jacob LaBove, Charles Ruiz, and Jonathan Mitchell
SHERBROOKE: Le Salésien’s Students Become Citizens of Solidarity and Charity
by Fr. Alain Leonard
It feels good to do good! In a way, this is a feeling that is fairly well shared and reflects the experiences of the students of Seminaire Salésien in Sherbrooke, Que., who were involved in this fall’s “Volunteering” project, first set up 25 years ago. Various initiatives allow our young people to awaken and become aware of the needs of our society, to help each other, to feel useful with those who need it most, to serve, to feel better about themselves. Depending on the level, young people achieve between 10 and 15 hours of involvement in the community: a cumulative of 7,000 hours per year!
On the World Day of the Poor, Le Salésien joined the Salvation Army’s activity. This organization of last resort is constantly present to fight hunger and improve the living conditions of vulnerable people in various ways. Many of the students enrolled as volunteers in the “soup kitchen” service. It has been possible for them to realize that part of our population lives in extraordinary situations – homeless people, drug addicts, victims of violence of all kinds, living with a mental illness or other unfortunate living conditions that lead to extreme poverty – and thus to open their hearts by giving time to those who have received less.
Little by little, our young volunteers become citizens of solidarity and future ambassadors of charity!
STONY POINT: Marian Shrine Observes World Day of the Poor
by Fr. Tom Ruekert, SDB
The Marian Shrine community in Haverstraw-Stony Point observed World Day of the Poor (November 19) in several ways.
1. We had a community service in place of our usual evening prayer on Friday, November 17.
* We began by presenting significant quotations from Fr. Tim Zak’s letter published in E-Service;
* We read and commented on 60% of the Pope’s letter, “Let us love, not with words, but with deeds.
* We prayed together the service provided by Fr. Brennan entitled “Eradication of Poverty Prayer Service”.
2. We connected two collection drives we had already begun before we announced the First World Day of the Poor:
* One drive for diapers and slightly used shoes to be sent to the Missionaries of the Poor in the South, who would distribute these items to the poor;
* The other drive was our usual pre-Thanksgiving drive to collect non-perishable goods, again to be given to the poor via Catholic Charities.
We connected these drives, quoting Pope Francis’s keen desire to raise awareness of the importance of doing concrete acts of charity on behalf of the poor.
3. On December 1, which is the First Friday of the month, we will dedicate our monthly Holy Hour to this theme, using elements of the Pope’s letter and of Fr. Brennan’s prayer service during our adoration and Benediction service.