September 29, 2008
Dear Parish Faithful,
I must begin with a confession: apparently, I am a man of "little faith." Based upon on the fact that we have had two very extensive fundraising drives over the course of the last year-and-a-half or so, we did not make a special collection for the Hogar in anticipation of Madre Ivonne's visit here. The decision was to allow for all of the money collected as registration fees/donations for the Retreat to go to the Hogar. Anticipating around a hundred retreat participants, I was hoping we would make a donation of around $2,000.00, which is still substantial. After yesterday's Liturgy, Mickey (Callendar, Parish Treasurer) let me know that as of Saturday, we had collected $3,040.00. That was a wonderful surprise, indeed. After the Liturgy yesterday, a basket was present for those who did not attend the retreat. After the basket had been filled with further generous donations, Mickey informed me that we now had over $4,275.00 as our contribution to the Hogar! Quite a basket! As the madres always say: Big is God! With an anxiety-causing ecomony, this was truly a remarkable collection.
Yet, that excellent collection demonstrated another "theory" of mine (somewhat at odds with my modest goals), that was also in my mind during this past weekend, that breaks down along these lines: If anyone sees or hears Madre Ivonne - her humble bearing and authentic voice - and is impressed by the strength of her faith; reflects for a moment on the incredible accomplishments of only three nuns alone as Orthodox in a poverty-stricken country such as Guatemala; and thinks for a moment about those poor, defenseless children, "abused, abandoned, and orphaned;" is it possible for a follower of Christ, with a clear conscience, to pass up the opportunity to bring some light and joy into those troubled lives with a donation of any size? It is hardly possible - if not virtually impossible. Apparently, most of you accept my "theory" - and acted upon it! - based on the basket yesterday that brought in an additional $1,200.00. As the priest and pastor of our community, it is deeply gratifying to witness such a communal manifestation of "cheerful giving" in response to real need.
So, by the grace of God, my second theory triumphed over my "little faith." May the Lord bless everyone who made a contribution to the work of God that we are blessed and privileged to support by sharing some of our material blessings.
If you were absent this weekend, and would like to make a contribution to the Hogar San Rafael Ayau Orphange, then please contact me. We can wait a bit longer before sending our check to the Hogar.
October 2, 2008
A few people requested that we wait before sending in our check to the Hogar based upon last weekend's donations, so that they could add their own contribution. Therefore, we will hopefully collect these further generous donations on Sunday, and send in our check early next week. We have now collected about $4,365.00.
During the Retreat, Madre Ivonne referred a couple of times to the Matthew Krueger Memorial Fund which is assisting the children there.. In order to inform everyone who may not be aware of this, I asked Wayne and Karen to provide a description of this, and thus we have the following:
Shortly after Matthew's death, Karen and I established the Matthew Saad Krueger Memorial Fund through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Our intention was to direct these funds toward organizations involving music and children, two areas that Matt loved dearly in his short life.
After our family's visits to the Hogar and continuing discussions with Madre Ivonne, we finally decided in 2006 to sponsor the hiring of a full-time music teacher for the children at the Hogar in Matthew's memory. We hope to continue this sponsorship for as long as we are able.
In addition, we were also able to purchase new Liturgy books and a sound system for Christ the Savior/Holy Spirit from the same fund and we are in the process of sponsoring a portion of the Computer Composition Laboratory at the new school of Creative and Perfoming Arts which is currently under construction in downtown Cincinnati. This K through 12 School is open to all children by audition regardless of their financial capabilities.
We can add: "Memory Eternal" to Matt!
October 6, 2008
Dear Parish Faithful,
I hope the workweek - or schoolweek, or homeweek - ahead of you is a blessed one ...
Before departing for the Midwest Diocesan Assembly in Chicago, I wanted to pass on our final collection total for the Hogar. Following the basket by the Cross yesterday, combined with a final and very generous donation that I was informed of from within the parish, we will be able to donate $5,652.50 as our Retreat-based collection for the support and assistance of the ninos and ninas of the Hogar. Truly remarkable! Big is God!