I am attempting to keep this short, as I was in the Philippines when I received word that this column would be due before I got back; with that in mind I apologize to Brother McKenna for making him wait.
Since seeing many of you in July, at the State Convention not much has happened on my end, other than the trip to the Philippines I already mentioned. This was a mission trip, to introduce Aquaponics to small communities in a couple of locations, and to lay the groundwork for my return next year, when I hope to finish two large systems for some isolated communities. While I was traveling around Aklan province, I kept noticing cement markers on the roadsides, just prior to bridges or villages, adorned with various fraternal symbols: the Knights of Columbus, Rotary, even a Masonic one. These were placed there because these organizations had assisted the community in the past, with some project, unfortunately I did not see any from the AOH. I am not writing this to embarrass anyone or to solicit donations (although if you want to send money to help the projects I am working on I won’t say no), but to remind us of how we are part of the Universal, that is the Catholic, Church. As followers of Jesus Christ we are all called to think outside of ourselves towards an other, and the Other.
While many brothers and divisions have been generous, we need to continue to be generous and increase our generosity. Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson, which has enjoyed the support of the AOH and LAOH in the past, and which has assisted youth, families and individuals throughout the State (and Nation), depends completely upon donations and grants for its operations. Now the demand is even greater since many of those agencies that depended upon government subsidies and contracts have closed due to cut backs, resulting in more people seeking help from Hope House and similar groups.
As I have mentioned over the past year, Fr. Fred Close, the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Washington D.C. is still collecting money to build affordable housing for students of the John Paul II Institute. The students attending this Pontifical Institute return to their parishes and dioceses, working to better form individuals and families as to our Catholic Faith; trust me they do not get paid much, so anything that can help prevent unnecessary debt is appreciated. The information on where to send donations is: St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 1029 Monroe St., NE, Washington, DC 20017; write “AOH JPII” in the memo line.
Finally, our own charities: Project St. Patrick, FFAI and Hibernian charities need our support, as do those charities that our divisions and counties have supported. Of course I have been thinking about Brother Arnie Nagelhout as I have been writing this column, especially how happy he was at the convention to give out such a large amount of certificates, which testify to the generosity of Hibernians. Remember brothers, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:7-8).
Fr. Henry W. Reid