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Thunga Primary School
St Irene's Social Justice Committee is excited for the parish to contribute to Design Cause Inc's work building classrooms for Thunga Primary School in Malawi. We are grateful to all parishioners contributing. The following text is from our Social Justice Committee Chairman, speaking at Mass on March 11th 2018.
In Lent, we observe 3 pillars of faith which are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Our Malawi project naturally follows the tradition of almsgiving. Our almsgiving is faith affirming, but it’s also demonstrative. When the secular world questions the meaning or relevance of Catholicism and other organized faiths, you have responded by demonstrating just how meaningful and relevant we really are. We are doing something here that is purposeful and serves an important humanitarian cause, but it says even more about what we believe and who we are.
What we’ve accomplished in these few weeks is nothing short of miraculous. When I say miraculous, I ask you to contemplate what we, and that means all of us, have done. We are a small Catholic parish in the Boston archdiocese. In a few short weeks we collected nearly enough money and assembled the other resources to construct 3 classrooms for our needy and deserving Catholic brothers and sisters in a small African village half way around the world. Your generosity means that 200 children will no longer be crammed together in a classroom meant for a fraction of that number. Your generosity also affirms that our faith is more than just some noble or altruistic ideas. We are prepared as a community to enable and support those like Kelsey Bradley who selflessly carry out those ideas.
I’m reminded of those words in the Creed, where we proclaimed our belief in “one holy catholic and apostolic church”. From here in suburban Boston to a small village in southeast Africa, we work today as one holy catholic and apostolic church. Holy, because the Gospels would tell us that God’s children should not be denied clean water to drink, or basic sanitation, or the opportunity for an education. You said so in 2004 and you say so again now 14 years later. It’s catholic, which means universal, and we are one in that we are a single worldwide faith, accomplishing God’s work unbounded by tribal, national, or other manmade borders. And finally, it’s apostolic, because this is a missionary undertaking in its truest form. In this season of Lent we all strive to be apostles by what we do and the success of this mission is living proof.
Allow me to be specific on what’s been accomplished and what’s left to do. To date (March 11th 2018) we’ve collected just over $28,000 of our $30,000 goal. That’s 93%!
So, allow me to use a sports analogy to make my point. It’s the 4th quarter; there’s seconds left on the clock and we’ve got the ball on the opponent’s 30 yard line and we’re down by 2. The hard battle has been fought. We don’t need a touchdown or to recover an on-side kick. Just send one through the uprights for 3 points and we can declare victory and go home. So, folks, I’m not asking for big contributions. I’m just asking you to consider digging into your pockets one last time on your way out to put us over the top.
We expect to be starting construction in the coming months and we will report back to you as the project progresses. And, of course, I thank you for all you’ve done to make this possible.
Current school building, Thunga Primary School
Crowded classroom at Thunga shows the need for more rooms.
Local students are excited for St Irene's to help them build!