Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 17, 2004
Pennies add up to awareness
Fr. Michael Troy shepherds massive growth in Holy Childhood Association
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
A few pennies from a child's pocket add up to thousands of dollars for the Third World poor when combined with others in the Edmonton Archdiocese who give during Lent to support the Holy Childhood Association.
With tireless support from Father Michael Troy and the Archdiocesan Mission Council, the HCA has experienced profound growth locally, particularly in the past few years, in terms of funds donated by children and their families to support the poor.
Between 1997 and 2003 contributions from children, families and parishes have multiplied almost eight-fold, from $6,500 a year to $46,000.
"Our kids raised $611 for the HCA," said Kathleen Kieser, Grade 3-4 teacher at St. Theresa School. "We gave the children a list of activities from the Peace and Development calendar that best suited their families.
"They were asked to bring in 10 cents for every video and video game in the home, or a dime for every glass of water they drank."
The list included donating 25 cents for every email they wrote in a week, 10 cents for every coloured marker or crayon in the home and a nickel for every CD.
Rather than helping individuals, the Holy Childhood aids institutions and organizations concerned with children below the age of 14. This includes nursery centres, orphanages, schools, hospitals, refugee camps and handicapped centres.
Sixth annual Mass
The sixth annual Holy Childhood Mass was held May 5 at Holy Trinity Church in Spruce Grove with 1,000 elementary and junior high students filling the pews.
Archbishop Thomas Collins reminded everyone that children helping children is just as important today as it was in 1843 when Bishop Charles de Forbin Janson of France encouraged children to say a prayer each day and give a penny a month for suffering children.
The HCA remained inactive locally for about 30 years, until then-Archbishop Joseph MacNeil established the Archdiocesan Mission Council in 1997 to create a greater awareness in parishes and schools of the plight of people in Third World countries. He asked Troy to take charge of the mission council.
"I have been in many of the schools and what I'm finding now is that the younger children are much more aware and have a feeling of what is going on in the world," Troy said in an interview.
"Their hearts are in the right place. They have a certain stewardship towards other kids. They feel that they have to get to know their problems even though they are so young.
"They know there is something they can do to help them. And they are being trained that when they get older, they can do something even more."
Troy says much of the credit has to be given to the principals and teachers and everyone involved in the HCA across the archdiocese.
"When we see 1,000 children attend Mass, that is because we have to limit ourselves to that number. There are many more who would come if we could hold them all," he said.