The Amigos de Jesús family celebrated Ash Wednesday in the U.S. last week with a mass and luncheon at Saints Simon and Jude Parish in West Chester, PA.
Mass was led by Father Patricio who serves as Amigos de Jesús’ Servant Director, Mission Integration.
During the luncheon, a presentation about Amigos de Jesús was given by Honduras Directors Wilson and Amy Escoto and Alan Turner and by U.S. Director Phil Rapone.
Special blessings to Anthony & Christine Granese (co-founders of Amigos de Jesús) and the 100+ members of the Amigos de Jesús family who joined us for this special celebration marking the beginning of Lent.
Fr. Patricio spoke in his homily about the meaning of Lent including our suffering here on earth.
That in the darkest times in our lives — even when we have doubts about our faith — we can still have trust in our Father, who will always be there for us.
Fr. Patricio was joined at the altar by Amy, Wilson and Anthony who helped with the blessing and distribution of ashes.
After mass, everyone was blessed to hear our Honduras Directors speak about the children’s lives in Honduras as well as the unique care and guidance the children receive.
Alan, Amigos de Jesús’ Children’s Home Director, led everyone through a typical day for the children.
The day begins with a 6 AM wake up call, followed by breakfast and cleanup, then the start of school at 7:30 AM.
After returning to their homes at 3 PM, the children wash their uniforms, do homework, have play time, then Prayer Circle.
At Prayer Circle, Alan emphasized, the children always give thanks for what they DO have, not what they may be lacking. They also pray for the entire Amigos de Jesús family including the benefactors present today at Ash Wednesday.
Amy, Director of Honduras Operations, spoke to the transformative environment at Amigo de Jesús.
Amy began by highlighting how the entire Amigos de Jesús family — directors, staff, volunteers, and benefactors — has been guided by the Holy Spirit and a special calling from God.
Just as critical though, Amy continued, the care of the children is also informed and guided by neuroscience.
Because Amigos de Jesús’ children come from extreme trauma, Amy said, the first goal is to convince them that Amigos de Jesús is a safe environment.
Then the children can relax and not be in fear mode. Providing daily structure and regular meals/snacks also helps to heal the children.
The ultimate goal, as Amy said, is the gift of eventually seeing the transformation of the children so that they can “…gain the freedom to become who they were created to be."
During the presentation, U.S. Director Phil Rapone spoke about the recent growth of Amigos de Jesús — both in terms of newly arrived children and construction at the Hogar.
Four new classrooms were just constructed at the Hogar. We also recently broke ground on three new children’s homes to be completed in 2019.
With several children having arrived in 2018, the total number of children at Amigos de Jesús is now 138.
As Phil reiterated, none of this growth would be possible without the generosity, love and spirit of those at the luncheon and the rest of our benefactors.
(Special thank you to our altar server Andrew for helping Fr. Patricio during the mass!)
A special Thank You for the generosity of our sponsors for Ash Wednesday:
The Mullen Family Foundation
The Zozaya Family
The Holloway Family
The D’Ambrosio Family
Anita Robbins and Chris Rosati
Gary & Claire Daniels
The Tegler Family
Jack & Tammy Dodds
The Coll Family
Patrick & Anne Ward
The McHugh Family
Thank you also to:
Fr. Dennis O’Donnell
Fr. Patricio Lynch-Pueyrredon