24 March 2008

We're back in TEXAS!

Alleluia! He is RISEN!!

I am happy to report that the ASB2008 Pilgrims to The Catholic Oasis of St Rafaela in Athens, GA have all safely returned to Irving, TX.

We had a blast with the Sisters Margarita, Angela, and Marietta, all members of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

During the week with the sisters we built a playground for the Oasis kindergarten children, drained a small but annoying swamp near the school, and tutored the first, second, and third grade students in reading and math.

We also prayed the daily office, celebrated a daily Mass, enjoyed some excellent homemade Mexican food, visited the Catholic Center at UGA, visited the parish--St Joseph's--, participated in a Stations of the Cross in Atlanta, celebrated the Triduum with the folks at the UGA Newman Center and at St. Joseph's, and we managed all of this with the help of our generous benefactors here at the Church of the Incarnation, our pilgrims' home parishes, parents, friends, and even a number of anonymous donors.

I want to plug the sisters' work at the Oasis in Athens, GA. The sisters there serve a large community of recent immigrants (mostly from Mexico). The Oasis program is fundamentally an afterschool tutoring program for kindergarten-third grade students in the community. With the help of more than 100 tutors from UGA, the sisters are able to spend about 2.5 hrs a day during the week assisting these children with improving their math and reading skills. I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with their hard work and the results they've achieved. One of the most impressive accomplishments of the community is the elimination of gang activity in the area. No easy feat! But once you encounter the determination of these faithful women, you can easily see how evil never stands a chance.

More than anything right now the sisters need cash donations. While we were there, I witnessed the sisters paying the medical bill for one little boy with a bad case of meningitis. Another family was being evicted from their home and the sisters were able to stall the eviction by coming up with the rent money. They are frequently called upon for basic foodstuffs. The people in the community are hard-working, justly proud, deeply faithful, and committed to their families. I can testify the frugality of the sisters' lifestyle (three of them in a trailer). And I am happy to recommend them to you as worthy recipients of your help. So, please send them a donation or contact them about how you might be of help to them:

Catholic Oasis of St Rafaela
1465 Highway 29, N
Lot G-21
Athens, GA 30601

On behalf of the ASB2008 Pilgrims, I want to thank you all for your prayers!

Now: back to the academic grind. . .

No comments:

Post a Comment