There are two questions that donors never tire of asking charities such as ours. How did you use my donation? Did it make a difference in anyone’s life? We are posting these stories to answer these questions. We think you will like them. They are short and personal. The settings range from the South Side of Chicago to the “hollers” of West Virginia to the poor neighborhoods of Kingston, Jamaica. In every case, your generous support enabled our missionaries to touch the lives of people with the love of God. Thank you!
My experience of emigrating from Colombia to the United States was very good. I had a visa, so I did not have any problems entering the country. I have been a member of the parish for the past fourteen years and have been active in many areas.
Retired SVD missionary, Father Bill Halvey, arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1961 and served there for 26 years. Read about the community he served.
This story is about three people: a teacher, a student, and a pastor who is an SVD missionary. It is set at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Community in Lakewood, New Jersey, which has one of the largest Hispanic communities in the Diocese of Trenton.
Many of our missionaries are privileged to work alongside some extraordinarily talented members of the parish staff. One such missionary is Fr. Bob Kelly, SVD, who serves as the pastor of Our Lady of Africa Parish in Chicago. He works closely with staff member, Ladell Johnson, whose gifts for serving others in challenging and painful circumstances are seemingly limitless.
Very few of us have to cope with the challenge of living in a neighborhood with a high crime rate. Beyond that, very few of us will ever have to cope with the loss of a child. Genoria had to cope with both. When her daughter was killed in the crossfire between two gangs, our SVD priests came to her aid. Read more about her story and how your support helped.
Fr. Thierry Koula, SVD completed his formation program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, was ordained in 2016, and is now serving in Chad in Central Africa.
The food pantry at Risen Lord Church in Maysel, Clay County, West Virginia is just one example of how we are responding. It used to provide food for 105 children a week through its backpack program at an elementary school in Clay County. When the local schools closed at the beginning of the pandemic, it served 1,167 students during the first week.
Our missionaries often work with those who are economically disadvantaged. All too often, regular employment is a challenge. For that reason, many missionaries have become adept at partnering with organizations who are equipped to provide job training. Fr. Bob Kelly, SVD at the former St. Elizabeth Church, now part of Our Lady of Africa, on the South Side of Chicago, is one such example.
John Denver got it right when he described West Virginia as “almost heaven” in his song, “Country Roads.” I cannot keep from humming the tune as Father Thien Duc Nguyen drives me from the airport in Clarksburg to St. Thomas Church in Gassaway where he serves as the pastor.
One Saturday afternoon after Mass practice with the altar boys and girls, Seminarian Khanh Ha noticed that the children were not leaving to return home. When he asked why, the answer was disturbing.