Monday, September 9, 2013

The Children of Africa - Mission Appeal

To order a copy of Fr. Dunson's latest book click here! 
To Donate to the St. Kizito Foundation click here!

“I would never be able to see myself the same, the world the same, or my obligation to care and provide for those who are most poor and vulnerable.”

When I entered the seminary in 2001 I had no idea that I would embark on a journey that would take me across the world. I went to the seminary with the notion that I was giving my life to God and so all adventure would come to an end. What I discovered is that when we draw close to God and offer him our lives he takes us places beyond our wildest dreams.

It is now nearly a decade later and the children of Africa have always held a piece of my heart. I still tell the stories, I still relish in the memories, but most importantly I have been formed as a priest and as a person with a heart for the poorest of the poor. I had been repeatedly warned that taking a mission trip such as this would be a life-altering event still I could never have imagined how much my life would be impacted by this initial trip.”

There are two scripture passages that have not left my mind since our memorable trip to Africa. The first is Jesus inviting Peter to touch him – “put your hand into my side” (John 20:27) so that you may believe. I have been given the opportunity to place my hands into the side of Jesus, to touch the wounded and broken, to experience more the mystery of suffering and vulnerability.

The second passage is “the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few.”(Matt. 9:37) Father Joseph Valente, a Comboni missionary from Italy ministering among the street youth in Kampala, gave a homily to us on our last Sunday morning in Africa.That very night he had a fatal heart attack. We were struck with the realization that we were eye-witnesses to his final reflections on the words of Jesus. He centered all his thoughts on this very passage. He imaged the harvest Jesus spoke of as the children that were in abundance in the streets. He saw how they were wasting away because there was no one there to gather and care for them. I’ve realized since this trip that around the world the harvest is abundant; there is an abundance of vulnerable children throughout the world just waiting to be helped and held by us. These gifts are so pure and wonderful. These children are sent from God, created by God, given to us by God, and they are being wasted. They are perishing in the streets because they are not loved; they are not seen as a gift but a burden. I have been given this opportunity to see their goodness, I have been able to see the wonderful gifts that they are, I have been able to touch the side of Jesus when I touch them, and I thank God for them.

Donate Now!  

"We Pray for Children" Prayer

We pray for children who sneak popsicles before supper,who erase holes in math workbooks,who can never find their shoes.

And we pray, for thosewho stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,who never "counted potatoes,"who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,who never go to the circus,who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for childrenwho bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,Who sleep with the cat and bury goldfish,Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,Who slurp their soup.

And we pray for thosewho never get dessert,who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,who watch their parents watch them die,who can't find any bread to steal,who don't have any rooms to clean up,whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,who like ghost stories,who shove dirty clothes under the bed,and never rinse out the tub,who get visits from the tooth fairy,who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for thosewhose nightmares come in the daytime,who will eat anything,who have never seen a dentist,who aren't spoiled by anybody,who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for childrenwho want to be carriedand for those who must,for those we never give up onand for those who don't get a second chance.For those we smother…and for those who will grab the hand of anybodykind enough to offer it.

We pray for children. Amen

from We Pray for Children, 1995, William Morrow publishers

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.