Lenten program emphasizes church’s international work

MERCHANTVILLE — St. Peter Parish’s night of “Soup, Stations, and Solidarity,” included a visit from Cross Catholic Outreach to educate the faithful on the organization’s mission of aiding the poorest of the poor..

The program, held March 9, began with a dinner of pasta fagioli, made from a family recipe by parish pastor, Father Anthony Manuppella, in Pastor’s Hall, followed by the parish’s weekly Stations of the Cross in the church, during Fridays in Lent.

Afterward, St. Peter’s parishioners returned to Pastor’s Hall to hear personal stories from Father Paul Farin, outreach priest for Cross Catholic Outreach; and Tara McKinney, the Africa International Projects Officer for the organization.

In a series of slides, the two shared the work that is being done in Africa, specifically for six countries in East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique), and the 45 projects Cross Catholic Outreach is currently facilitating there, including clean-water projects; hygiene education; the presence of Catholic and vocational schools, and literacy for adults; and medical shipping, sending supplies to Catholic ministries working there, so those afflicted with HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and children with cleft-palate and club foot, can get the care they need.

“We are committed to the Gospel” in a country with food and water insecurity, said McKinney, who mentioned that she just returned from a trip to Africa, where she aided missionaries working in Africa, and the local church and ministries there. She also acknowledged the work the organization is doing to help those affected by the Horn of Africa Drought, which has decreased food and water supplies for those in the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Somalia since last July.

In 2012, Cross Catholic Outreach has given $2 million in grants to Africa.

“I want (St. Peter) parishioners to understand that the church is not just St. Peter Parish or the Diocese of Camden, but that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, and that is the Church universal,” said Father Manuppella.

“By having Cross Catholic Outreach visit our parish, our faithful can then assist in the works of charity and evangelization in Africa.”

For more information on Cross Catholic Outreach, visit www.crosscatholic.org

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