Dear Parish Faithful,
Here is an update from Madre Ines concerning the present state of the Hogar and some of their needs. As you will read below, the Hogar has taken on 19 new infants and toddlers! Obviously, when Madre Ivonne visits us in September, we will make a collection on behalf of the Hogar that we will send back with her. You may want to wait and contribute then. However, you may want to respond to this request now, and if so you will find the mailing addresses below.
Cristo ha resucitado ! Verdaderamente ha resucitado ! Blessed feast of Pentecost !
To you, friends of the children at the Hogar Rafael Ayau, greetings from Guatemala.
Thank God we had a blessed, Holy Week and Pascha. Some of the pictures are already on the website, www.hogarafaelayau.org .. We had the grace of having Father Peter Chamberas celebrating all the services. It was a Liturgical banquet that renewed us all. BIG IS GOD ! During this Paschal time we had several priests with the mission teams who came to serve the children, the New Jersey team with Fr. Stacy Richter and the Ohio team with Fr. Paul Alberts and Fr. Jorge Faraj from Honduras who came for confessions. It has been a rich season of joy.
As you all know, a new Adoption Law supported by UNICEF and several foreign countries including the USA, was signed in Guatemala effective the 31 December 2007. The law forbids us to make adoptions. We are finishing the pending adoption cases with many difficulties and hardships. The new adoption authorities are still disorganized and are at a loss. Pray for us.
The first consequence is that we have many babies and toddlers again. We had baptism of 19 children the second week of Pascha. What is sad is that they will no longer be able to have a home they can call their own and will have to live in an institution. How will they learn to build a family if they did not have one of their own? Therefore all the support we can give them and God’s grace will help them build their orthodox Christian families. The children under our care will therefore stay with us until they reach their age of maturity. We have become a stable family of 100 children. These children need daily care, daily education, daily individual love, daily learning to live as a family as you care for your own children at home.
We nuns with our staff are here for them on daily basis. All of you who come as missionaries are their extended family. All of you who pray for them and for us, those who can send your financial help according to your means, you all are their family. The Church is their mother. They are the Guatemalan children of the Orthodox Church, such a big and wonderful family.
We produce very little income compared to the needs, so again and again we come to ask for your help. We need your financial help to pay the bills of milk, electricity, gas, education, etc, etc. You know best.
This letter then is a reminder to your hearts to help us raise the children: a renewed invitation to come as missionaries and to keep sending your generous financial support, to be part of their lives. On their behalf, we thank you in advance.
We send our prayers and condolence to Father John Abdalah and his children, Gregory, Joseph and Maria for the loss of Khourie Joanne. She has gone ahead and now prays for us, we feel her presence. Maria was once a child at the Hogar Rafael Ayau and now has her own family and is already excelling in College. We ask God to give them comfort.
Let’s receive with open hearts the Gift, the Consoler, the Spirit of Truth, the Giver of Life that our Risen Lord sends to our lives. He gives us the needed strength to keep on going. Big is God !
We send this in His love,
Mother Ines, the nuns and the children with me in Christ.
P.O. Box FRIENDS OF HOGAR RAFAEL AYAU
Section 011600 c/o Harriet Stratis
P.O. Box 02-5339 3150 N. Lake Shore Drive, #27A
Miami, FL 33102 U.S.A. Chicago, IL 60657 U.S.A.