#20years20lessons Lesson #1 ~ Father Dennis O'Donnell

It Ain’t About Me

I grew up in a row home neighborhood of Philadelphia.  I doubt if more than 10% of my neighborhood friends ever went farther than Wildwood.  So what is this 70 year old kid doing in Honduras, Argentina, Tanzania and Guyana?

My linguistic skills are next to zero, my construction skills are at zero, and my skill of raising children is below zero.  So what is this unskilled priest doing co-founding a Home for Abused and Abandoned Children in a foreign country?

I could go on focusing on “my” lack of this or that (which are many), and it would only take me deeper into self-absorption, false humility or false pride (probably the same thing).

Or I can be aware of the truth that an amazing miracle, an undeniable Blessing from God has happened and it really had nothing to do about “me”.  It had everything to do about listening, praying, being aware, letting go before God and others; and most importantly, letting children teach me how to be a disciple of our “Friend.” (Mt 21.16 & Psalm 8.3)

“My world,” “my desires,” “my expectations,” “my will” are so small and embarrassing next to the “world” of an infant who was being nursed when her father killed her mother with a machete.  Or a boy’s “desire” expressed at Easter Mass - “I just want a mother or father.”  Or a 12 year old girl “expecting” her mother to protect her from the mother’s boyfriend who was abusing her only to have her mother put her on the street.  Or the “will” of each child to have a childhood.

20 years ago if God told me I could have anything I wanted for Amigos de Jesús and it would be there 20 years later, what I would have wanted would not have come close to the truth, beauty, mystery, sacredness and love of where God has taken our Home for Children. 

I would also think that is the experience of every loving, Christ-centered marriage, relationship and vocation.

Interesting thing, as I learn that it “ain’t about me” I am finding the true me.

Thank you for being part of our 20 year sojourn and our eternal journey with Jesus our Friend and His friends, the children of Amigos de Jesús.

     - Father Dennis O'Donnell, President and Co-Founder of Amigos de Jesús


- Father Dennis O'Donnell, President and Co-Founder of Amigos de Jesús