After learning about the ongoing persecution of Christians, including children, in the Holy Land the fourth-grade class of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway was deeply touched. They wanted to improve the lives of those children in any way
After learning about the ongoing persecution of Christians, including children, in the Holy Land the fourth-grade class of St. Mary’s School in Piscataway was deeply touched. They wanted to improve the lives of those children in any way they could.
After debating how to proceed, the fourth graders recently held a Bible- and- Bake sale to raise money to sponsor a child in their sister parish, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Aboud Israel, an Arab-Christian parish 40 miles from Jerusalem
The eager students learned of the circumstances in the Holy Land and began writing letters of encouragement to the children who were experiencing active persecution. The St. Mary’s students learned that many of the local residents were not even allowed to leave the town. “We learned they were being persecuted and decided we wanted to help,” said Mariah Buchner, a fourth grader at the school.
Bill Keming, the fourth-grade religion teacher at St. Mary’s supervised his students as they made posters and flyers, and spoke of their sale at different Masses to advertise their effort to help the less fortunate. With the money they would collect, the students also anticipated buying bibles for all the fourth graders in their local sister parish in Washington, Church of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus.
After four Masses at the church, the class sold bibles, catechisms, rosaries made by the students with the help of rosary maker, and baked goods to parishioners and those who attended the liturgies. Efforts to raise money exceeded their hopes as they raised well over $1,2000, double what they had anticipated. Since they made additional profits, the students decided they would sponsor two more children in Aboud, and also upgrade the bibles they were purchasing for the fourth graders at Nativity Parish.
“it made us very proud because we knew we could save lives of children our age,” said Chelsea Carden, fourth-grade student. Kemig’s class also donated a portion of their profits to the school library and the rosary makers who took time to show them how to make rosaries.
With the help of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, Inc., which helps support Christian education efforts in the Holy Land’s Catholic schools, the students have established a relationship with the students in Aboud. Duane Burchick, the child sponsorship program coordinator for the foundation, said that the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation acts with the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem to implement the program between St. Mary’s in Piscataway and Our Lady of Sorrows in Aboud. He said, “Sponsoring children is the way that American children can implement cardinal acts of mercy, as well as outreach in the Spirit. The communications are made under the direction of the teachers, who lead the children in using language of Christ to bridge the culture gap.”
Along with her classmates, Rachel Candela is anxious to continue helping the children in the Holy Land. Candela said, “it feels good to know we could help poor people live better lives.”