Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 26, 2010
Indian trip opens Canadian's eyes, hearts
Travellers see impact of education, health care on sponsored children
DEACON EUGENE PERABO
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Catholics make regular contributions to charities, yet few have the opportunity to hear the words of gratitude or see the smile of a healthy child in areas where hunger, sickness and illiteracy prevail, where children begging in the street is the norm.
A visit to a Canadian Catholic Chalice sponsor site can make a difference in the life of a visitor, as it did in the life of the first apostles who asked Jesus, "Where do you stay?" and Jesus answered, "Come and see" (John 1.18-19).
Seeing makes believers.
Last November, on the first Chalice Mission Journey to India, a small group of travellers visited the homes, schools and hostels of sponsored children.
Though overwhelmed by the dire poverty we witnessed, we were uplifted by the heartfelt gratitude of the parents and children who are supported by the Chalice sponsorship program. Through the program, Chalice sponsors bring education, health care and hope for a better future.
We were honoured guests at the official opening and blessing of a new residence that enables children from isolated villages to attend school.
During our travels, we admired ancient temples and forts and visited the Catholic Velankanni Shrine, where Our Lady has appeared to a poor peasant boy.
Theresa Lema of Edmonton called the trip "one of the most experience-packed two-week periods of my life."
"I have never been someone to donate to organizations that sponsor children," Lema said. "I am skeptical of how the dollars trickle down to those that really need it.
"It certainly altered my view. The question changed from 'Would we ever sponsor a child?' to 'How many children can we sponsor?'
"I know it'll make a difference," she said. "If you want a travel experience that will show you much more than tourist attractions, then a Chalice Mission Journey is right for you."
Nancy Ewanchew of Edmonton said the trip opened her eyes, mind and heart to many experiences. "I was touched in so many ways and will forever be a changed person."
"The people of India have touched my heart with gentleness in their kindness and smiles and they have moved me to understand their desperate need for basic living conditions and education."
Hazel Motomura of Whitby, Ont., said the trip gave her a clear understanding of how Chalice functions.
"I saw the needs of these people and children and how crucial Chalice is in providing access to education and trying to meet some of the basic needs of their families and how effective the program is because of all the dedicated religious and staff," Motomura said.
"I had a very rich experience and will cherish all the memories I have of my trip."
The next Chalice Mission Journey to Bangladesh is scheduled for November 2010 and is limited to 15 participants.
For information, please contact me at 1-800-667-9775, email@example.com or visit www.chalice.ca.
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