St. Martin youth help people in need

Young people who attend St. Martin of Tours Church served meatless meals after Stations of the Cross on two Fridays during Lent to raise money for people in need.

They provided the meals for free and their patrons, who were invited to make a donation, gave nearly $1,200.

St. Martin’s high school religious education class served the meal on March 30 and raised $675. They are sending the money to the Missionaries of the Poor, a monastic order of brothers who serve people who are impoverished, sick, elderly and abandoned as well as physically and mentally disabled children in the United States, Haiti, Jamaica, India, the Philippines, Kenya and Uganda.

The parish’s American Heritage Girls Troop 1031 raised $512 when they provided a meatless meal on the first Friday of Lent. The money they collected is being sent to St. Rose of Lima Church in Chimbote, Peru. The church’s pastor, Father Joe Hayden, is a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville. The money will be used to rebuild a chapel that was recently destroyed by fire.

Cindy Heckmann, the director of religious education at St. Martin, said the children were excited that their efforts would help people so far from home and in such desperate need.

“At St. Martin we have so many outreaches and we’re  always trying to raise money for the Golden Arrow … and the Schuhmann Center (charities located at St. Martin). The kids really wanted to look beyond our neighborhood on this one and look overseas where people are so desperately poor,” Heckmann said.

The high school class chose the Missionaries of the Poor because “they serve the very poorest people you will ever find,” she noted. The children watched YouTube videos of the missionary brothers “literally picking these people out of gutters and taking them back to give them care. The kids were really touched by that. They were bowled over by these men who totally give up their lives to take care of the downtrodden, the sick and the elderly.”

Heckmann noted that the American Heritage Girls’ entire troop took part in the project and the older girls took the lead in coordinating it. They were excited to be able to help rebuild a chapel in Peru, Heckmann said.

“Father Joe Hayden is an uncle of a parishioner so we really felt like we had a close connection with him and we felt like we really knew how the money would be used,” she said.

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