Father Manny: A Penny For Your Thoughts for the Children of Syria

A single penny may not be much of a thing to us. If you live on the streets and are hungry more often than sufficiently fed, a penny may well make a huge difference.

The children of Syria have suffered untold and unspeakable horrors. The civil war that has literally torn that nation to shreds has taken its toll on everyone there, yet most especially the children. No child, whether in Syria, the Sudan or South Carolina should endure deprivation and poverty of such unimaginable proportion and depth.

Our Lenten exercise of “A Penny for your Thought” was our effort, albeit a figurative drop in a seemingly bottom-less bucket at trying to make a change in the lives of children living in a foreign land most of us will never visit or come to know too well. Nonetheless, it was OUR effort. It was OUR intention, prayerfully guided and divinely inspired to make a difference, to bring the basic staples to kids that need any and all help possible. The good, loving and generous people of this church, this Community of St. Nicholas once again, came to the fore and showed what we are made of.

The final total provided us by our Jennifer Brundige…drum roll, please, comes out to $175.00 raised. Now, St. Nicholas will match that total. The funds we shall use will not come from any department that will put us in a tough spot. Rather, we shall use funds that were given to me, for my personal use when I was installed as vicar. I tell you, I can’t think of any better way to share something gifted to me than with kids who desperately need our help.

The Community of St. Nicholas will cut a check in the amount of $350.00 and send it off to the Episcopal Relief Fund. They, in turn, will see to it that every single penny will go toward aid and assistance for the children of Syria who need it most.

From my heart to yours…thank you, everyone, for caring and sharing so generously and so lovingly. We profess that at St. Nicholas, all are welcome…period. How blessed to extend this invitation to children in a far-away country who have probably never heard of Elk Grove Village or who St. Nicholas is. But, with this small but powerful token of our love and care, kids will get a little dose of who St. Nicholas really is, become part of our family and hopefully, change their lives for the better.

Amen.

How To Help A Child At Christmas

The Criminal Justice Department is working with Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) and Cabrini Green Legal Aid to provide support for children whose mothers are in prison during this holiday season.
St Nicholas giving children gifts
Our first project involves filling the holiday wish lists of 13 children from four families. We are conducting the project primarily through an Amazon gift registry whereby donors can purchase the gifts or a gift card and have mailed directly to the criminal justice students to wrap and deliver. Each child has made two gift requests. We have four children with general requests (i.e., “something girly”) that cannot be accommodated by the Amazon wish list registry.

If you would like to sponsor a child and personally fill their gift list please contact Tana McCoy at tmccoy@roosevelt.edu. We ask that the gifts be delivered to Gage, Room 200 by December 20th.

If you would prefer to select a gift from Amazon and have it mailed, please use the link below. We ask that gifts be mailed by December 15th.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1MAEIWFTLCNLC/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_3

On December 17th CLAIM is taking 70 children to visit their mothers at Logan Prison, 200 miles south of Chicago. This distance has made regular visits to their mothers very difficult. Our second project involves helping make this visit a positive experience for the children. We have established an additional registry to purchase knit caps, gloves, and scarves to keep the children, their caregivers and volunteers warm on the trip. They also need some materials to keep the younger children busy (crayons, etc.). They would need these items ordered by this Thursday, December 8th. Here is the link to contribute to the children’s visit to see their mothers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1GPNZSKLIW79G/ref=cm_wl_list_o_2?

Please email Tana McCoy, tmccoy@roosevelt.edu with any questions. Donation tax receipts will be provided upon request. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Important Dates We Remember

75 years ago last week, the U.S. formally entered battle in World War II when the Japanese attacked the naval installation at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. In all, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were injured. The U.S.S. Arizona, the “pride of the American fleet” suffered the greatest number of casualties and today, it rests in the harbor where it sank on that fateful Sunday morning, December 7th, 1941.

Dates fascinate us. We remember the day of our birth, though as we mature, some of us choose not to be so celebratory about it. Perfectly understandable. We memorialize the anniversary of a loved one’s passing, as we place flowers atop their grave markers and pray to their beloved memory. For me, it is hard to forget that both my Mom and Dad passed away at the 10 o’clock hour on the mornings of December 22, 1985 and June 16, 2007. I shall not forget, as my heart reminds me each day. This is as it should be, for I love them beyond telling.

What of those other dates, you know, the date of our baptism and confirmation? Can we recall those sacramental occasions? I admit, this is pretty unfair of me to ask such a question. Still, it provides us food for thought, does it not? Truth be told, if I didn’t look at my records, I’d not remember either. And this is my point exactly. We celebrate our birth and other such anniversaries. Yet, as people of God, sisters and brothers to one another through Christ, we forget those times when we committed ourselves to serve God in worship and in ministry and be part of the body of the Church, engaged and active in the life of the Church. These events, along with marriage and ordination (marriage anniversaries may be the exception as most do remember this event) are occasions for rejoicing. Sadly, we forget and said anniversaries pass by without any recall, remembrance or rejoicing.

We are well into the sacred season of Advent. Last weekend we lit the Rose Candle, celebrating Gaudete Sunday. Translated from the Latin, Gaudete means “rejoice,” and is taken from a verse in St. Paul’s letter to the people of Philippi, Greece, “Gaudete in Domino semper,” that is, “rejoice in the Lord always.” For this is what we do as a people of faith: we watch and we wait. We continue to prepare ourselves for the anniversary of Christ’s celebrated birth on the 25th of December. This is the day chosen long ago and it is cherished by millions of faithful followers of Christ Jesus, the Redeemer. Yet and more importantly, let us continue to remind ourselves Advent calls us to prepare for the Lord’s return to our world, to once and for all bring us to eternal glory. As we wait, let us also remember to celebrate the anniversary of our ‘new birth in Christ,’ that is, our baptismal and confirmation anniversaries. It is in these sacramental exercises that we became part of this family we call Christian and members of this church we celebrate and honor as St. Nicholas Episcopal.

Incidentally, I was baptized on the 5th of October, 1958 and made my Confirmation on the 23rd of November, 1971 at Detroit Holy Redeemer. Anyone else wish to share their dates with us? After all…all are welcome…

Amen.