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Archbishop Molloy H.S. Students, Faculty and Alumni - Agents of Love Serving Lourdes and Peru

 

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07/10/2008: United States

 

ArchbishopThe St. Marcellin Champagnat International Service Society of Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, made their fourth annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, this summer, and expanded their outreach into the Third World, providing service to the people of Chulucanas, Peru.
Thirty-two students, alumni, parents and faculty members volunteered for nine days, July 25 to Aug. 2, to assist sick and disabled pilgrims, who travel to Lourdes to bathe in the healing waters near the grotto where the Blessed Mother appeared 150 years ago. Father Frank Shannon, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, Cypress Hills, served as chaplain for the group.

This is the fourth year Molloy has sponsored a pilgrimage to Lourdes. As in previous years, North American Lourdes Volunteers helped arrange for travel and accommodations at St. Peter and Paul Retreat Center.

A dozen students, alumni and faculty, who previously participated in the Service Program’s Lourdes experience, were the first to take part in a new service experience this summer in Chulucanas, Peru, July 6-17. Local Bishop Dan Turley welcomed volunteers, who lodged at Obispado House while they completed various tasks, including painting a school and seminary and cleaning the grounds of a senior citizen residence.

Whether going to Lourdes or Peru, each traveler raised $2,000, amassed through joint fundraisers and individual donations.

Volunteers shared these thoughts on their service experiences:

LOURDES:

I realized just how big the Catholic community is worldwide. Even though at times, I wasn’t able to communicate with speech, I became aware of how important your actions, body language and even a simple smile are. — Melissa Alke, A.M.H.S. ’09, Sacred Heart parish, Glendale

Never have I seen a place filled with people with such tremendous faith. You ... see people that can’t even walk or feed themselves, yet there they are in their wheelchairs singing at the candlelight procession with a huge smile across their face. ... Whether it was the seemingly unimportant things such as sweeping the floors or picking up garbage, or the necessary job such as wheeling people on and off trains/buses or working the Piscines and helping people take baths, it was worth every amount of tireless energy I put into it. … Since this trip, I have tried to change my life. Every day I try to live to the fullest, thank God for everything I have, and realize that no matter how bad I may think things are going for me, I just think back to all those people at Lourdes and remember that no matter what, they all kept smiling. — Kerri White, A.M.H.S. ’08, St. Andrew Avellino parish, Flushing

LOURDES and PERU:

I was astounded by how much the people depend on ... an unlimited resource that connects them all as one community. Their resource was the Church and their faith in it and in God. Without this invaluable resource, they might not have a safe water system, livestock to raise, sell and eat, or donated clothing to wear. ... My own service work did not produce much material-wise, but I know we were agents of love. ...

From working in a small town in the mountains of Peru to working in a small town in the mountains of France, we are the same people with the same appetite for love and God. The most significant souvenir was a stronger Marist feeling within me. Talking with Br. Pat (Hogan, A.M.H.S. alumni spiritual director) ... solidified my reasons for my calling to be a teacher and my calling to consider being a Marist Brother. — Joseph LoGiudice, A.M.H.S. ’06, St. Helen’s parish, Howard Beach

PERU:

The deep sense of faith and spirit that Peruvians have is beyond compare and something all Christians should try and emulate. New York City can consume you and oftentimes we are all guilty of getting caught up in defining ourselves by net worth or material things ... [and] lose sight of what we should all be thankful for. — Peter Modifica, A.M.H.S. ’89

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