Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 17, 2010
Pupils extend helping hand to Africa, Asia
Fr. Michael Troy's cause of children helping children, Holy Childhood Association, continues onward
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
SPRUCE GROVE - Following in the footsteps of Father Michael Troy, Deacon John Lindsay is encouraging the concept of Children Helping Children.
Troy, the Spiritan priest who spearheaded archdiocesan foreign mission outreach for years, was a staunch supporter of the Holy Childhood Association, an international Catholic organization for school-aged youth. Troy died March 19, but his spirit of caring for children all over the world continues.
The annual Holy Childhood Association Mass in the Edmonton Archdiocese was celebrated May 5 at Holy Trinity Church in Spruce Grove Stony Plain. The Mission Day Mass celebrates the work of the association.
"Grapes and vines are really incredible things to think about, but they are also part of that picture Jesus painted for us about being a branch on the vine," said Lindsay, during his homily at the Mass. "More specifically, he is telling us that he is the vine and he wants us to be his branches."
Apart from its connected branches, the grapevine could not bear fruit.
"We can be for Jesus if we live our lives remembering that he is the vine, and his friends - each of us who are here today - are his branches. When we live like Jesus asks, even the littlest challenge can be very fruitful."
Children from area schools have been helpful for many years, raising money for the Holy Childhood Association.
The association's motto is Children Helping Children, and one of its main purposes is to foster prayer and solidarity with poor children worldwide. The association strives to create and raise mission awareness among school-aged children through educational, social action and charitable fundraising opportunities.
Lindsay told the youths that children help other children through prayer, learning and sharing.
"Whenever you do any of these things, you are already a branch on Jesus' vine. When we live a good life, we can bear good fruit for Jesus. It means doing the right thing for the right reason all the time," said Lindsay.
"Everyone has a gift. By developing, using or sharing our gift with others, we can become very fruitful."
Karen Koester, coordinator of religious education for Evergreen Catholic School Division, organized this year's Mass.
She arranged for more than 1,000 students, teachers and parents from schools across the archdiocese to attend and actively participate in the celebration. The students shared their gifts of music, word and deed as they served in various ministries in Mass.
During the offertory procession, students representing nine schools and a few parishes presented Archbishop Emeritus Joseph MacNeil with money their schools had raised during Lent.
The total money raised has not yet been determined. Last year, students presented the archbishop with over $73,400 and the year prior donated more than $95,400.
Schools hold several activities to raise funds, everything from bake sales to hot dog lunches. All money raised is directed towards self-help programs involving the building of schools, the provision of health and nutrition programs, medication, and education in the Third World.
Countries being assisted by the Holy Childhood Association are Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Indonesia and Thailand.
Bishop Charles de Forbin Jansen, who raised money to save starving and abandoned babies, started the association in 1843 in France. The organization came to Canada in 1933 and began in Edmonton in 1938.
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