February 02, 2005
Prayers for Peace
In the first year A and I were dating, his grandparents celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. I was, of course, nervous to be attending this important family function and had no idea what I would say to his extended family that I had not yet met until that day. I was blessed to be seated at the dinner next to a beautiful priest from the Afr*can Cong0, Father Dennis. Father was a young priest whose manner was gentle and sweet. Even though I wasn't Cathol*c and didn't relate to his faith, I was delighted to share the time with him. He made the time with A's extended family go quickly and I left wishing I'd had more time.
I was compelled to tell the following story after reading Nino's latest entry.
This is the story (as I know it) of Father Dennis and his countrymen. Fr. Dennis came to the U.S. to learn to fly planes and rebuild them. This was part of his priestly ministry since there are so few priests in his native Democrat*c Republ*c of the Cong0, they have to travel great distance and over dangerous terrain to bring the Cathol*c Mass to the people. Having a plane would mean safer and faster travel, allowing a priest to serve a growing number of christians throughout the country. Oh, and by the way, his country was embroiled in a dangerous and fierce civil war.
So, without knowing English, he came. He enrolled in the best flight school in Florida and began to learn the English language as he studied and learned to fly small planes. He was assigned to help in a parish, where he was prevented from saying Mass due to his color? his accent? his representation of a part of the world that is less educated, poverty-stricken, and his countrymen were violently killing each other and committing many other monstrous acts against one another, particularly women and children? Who knows why most people of that church did not warm up to this sweet and intelligent man (A's grandparents loved him so much they would drive hours to see him once he moved on). After graduating from his flight school with the highest scores the school had EVER seen, Fr. Dennis was assigned to a different church - one that was closer to his next school.
He was now enrolled in aircraft mechanics school - since he would have to fix and tune up any plane that he would fly in his country. Again, he wowed the instructors with how quickly he learned everything and his dedication to learning every small detail. He graduated from that school with the highest possible grades.
In the meantime, though, he became enmeshed in his new church community. They welcomed him warmly, with open arms. They loved him and what he represented - a man dedicated to freeing his people, a man who loved his people so much that he would come alone to a foreign land to learn how to fly and fix a plane in order to serve in more dangerous and remote areas. A local man donated a small plane to Fr. Dennis and his Cathol*c Christian ministry in Afr*ca. It seemed the sweet and dedicated priest would be able to return to his country to put his education to use and to begin again ministering to the christians in the Cong0.
However, during this time, Fr. Dennis lost contact with his family in Afr*ca. Due to the civil war, communication was difficult and then impossible to locate his family members. The danger had increased in the area that included his village, so he stayed safely in the U.S. It has been several years and Fr. Dennis has been unable to get word on the location or safety of his family - it is most likely they have been brutally murdered by guerilla warriors.
This is just one story. I got started thinking of Fr. Dennis after reading the article Nino mentioned in O magazine. You can read a similar article in its entirety here (the one in the magazine didn't have nearly all these stories in it!). It is atrocious that these things are happening TODAY. This is happening RIGHT NOW, as I am typing this blog entry and even NOW as you are reading it. These women are being tortur*d, r*ped and even some sons are being forced to r*pe their own mothers RIGHT NOW. I am filled with horror when I think of these women's stories. I am filled with disgust at the animals that are forcing themselves on innocent women and children. I am filled with sadness that nobody in the world is doing anything to try to stop this inhumane-ness.
I challenge you today to read that article. I challenge you to give up your lattes for a month and donate that money to help someone in another part of the world eat for a month. I challenge you to sit yourself down in a quiet place (even if it is the bathroom with the door locked after your husband comes home) and pray for 20 minutes that the Congolese people find peace quickly and help from around the world to get them food and medical attention as well as safe places to live.
Pray, my friends. Because we have it damn good. Because God calls us to help others when they cannot help themselves. Clearly this part of Africa cannot help itself - clearly they are poor and unable to defend themselves against the brutality they face each day. Clearly, regardless of how strapped we are for cash, we can sacrifice something for ourselves to give to these other truly impoverished women.
I love you all and am so thankful that we live in a part of the world that allows us the opportunity to help others.
Until next time, may you feel God's presence in your life.
Posts written by humble servant
3 Your Comments

monk & neagle banner
Dress up your blog with Blog Togs!

Powered by Blogger