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LOOKING TO HIRE A COMMISSIONED MARKETING PERSON

A major goal this coming year, of myself and our Finance Council, is to establish the Crystal Room at Foggy Bottom as a rental facility which can generate income to maintain our Parish. To accomplish this we need to enlist the assistance of a marketing person. The position requires (1) marketing skills, especially using electronic media; (2) arranging showcases; (3) showing the facility and presenting contracts for signing (4) coordinating with caterers and our own bartenders, including obtaining alcohol licenses for each event; (5) arranging the parking and valet services. We would prefer an enthusiastic self-starter, someone who can serve for at least two years to get this established. A couple with the right background is also welcome to apply for this position. Commission negotiable , some received at contract signing, the rest after the event. An challenging opportunity for the right person or couple. Contact, Msgr. Paul at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Msgr. Paul’s Report on his Trip to Togo

I went with Linda Whitlock Brown of our Parish and the Crystal Room renovation architect, Tom Reinecker and his wife, Jeanette. Also visiting at the same time was Father Mark Hughes and two of his parishioners of Holy Redeemer Parish in Kensington (which will be Fr. Ryan’s twinning parish); a book author and her photographer. We arrived Wednesday, Feb 13th.

Leaving paved roads far behind, we arrived in the  village of Ewe with an amazing greeting. Young boys in bare feet ran ahead of us in welcome. Each of them could have qualified for the Olympics. A couple motorcycles also greeted us with wheeles. Then as we approached the town, about two hundred people and a band, along with Father Ryan, greeted us. Children grasped our hands – a child on each finger; as the group sang and danced the mile walk to the pastoral center of Our Lady of Guadalupe;  past the mud huts , palm branch roofed homes of the village. At the Parish we were welcomed by the Chief of the Village in full regalia and the Elders. Various groups put on welcoming dances and songs, as they provided refreshments.

Next day we visited a palm oil factory which Father created. It gives employment to several people who produce palm oil for cooking and palm oil soap. In the afternoon we visited the Catholic schools in Avegan and Avelebe where we met the faculty and distributed little bags of candy to the children. Father Ryan has created seven schools and is educating 1100 students ! For students in the middle school who must leave their distant, outlying villages the cost of tuition, room and board for ten months totals $7. Some need scholarships. The middle school students wore attractive uniforms of tan pants or skirts and pink shirts or blouses.

Later that day we visited two of the eleven wells Father Ryan had developed – his first project   for people who were lugging and drinking muddy water from a  distant stream. Using donated solar panels a massive water tower stores water which is gravity distributed to three villages.

The next day we visited two of the parish schools in Tsati and Kpoguere. Again we distributed candy – I brought a suitcase full of nothing but candy for the children, and chocolates for the sisters and the staff. Later, one of the school sisters led us to the moonshine still.  The friendly moonshiners cut down the plentiful palm trees and for six days collect the palm juice – a gallon a day. Quite tasty. Then they ferment the juice to create palm wine. The wine is then distilled to make the local fire water – powerful stuff ! The government doesn’t bother to collect taxes because it would cost more to hire a collector than they could ever squeeze out of these  destitute people.

Friday we took a motorcycle trip to  the school at Assahoun almost an hour away. I clung for dear life to the back of the motorcycle as we got around “pot holes” as big as a van. Once the driver and I took a spill in soft sand. We stopped at a school in  Kpoguere, distributed more candy. I was so glad to get off the motorcycle for a while ! We also saw two outlying chapels and two more wells – one given by the Kidwell family of Saint Rose of Lima. The last well and school was in a pagan village, with only two baptized persons. We rode by the village idol housed in a grass tent.

We visited Father’s teak tree project. He hopes to permanently fund all the work of the Parish by planting 100,000 teak trees; $1 each with two years of maintenance. After ten years the parish can harvest 10,000 a year, and those trees begin growing again from the roots !  Some acreage is set aside to assist neighboring parishes. Teak trees are much in demand on the world market. I suggested to Father that he find someone to train the villagers and someone to fund the equipment so that the villagers could make teak cutting boards to produce income. Many places in the area grow teak trees, so the supply is there. Teak wood is in high demand with  constantly rising in prices on the world market.   On the same plot of land we visited the parish’s  cassava flour project  which provides work for several people. The cassava, which look like long sweet potatoes, are ground up twice; then placed in porous bags under pressure for three days to drive out most of the water. Then the “dried” cassava is warmed in metal pots over an outdoor fire to create a fully dried cassava flour, which allows the subsistent farmers to earn more for their product.   We also visited the parish clinic and pharmacy. They had just delivered a baby – one of fifty the clinic delivers each year – a vast improvement over delivering a child on the soil of a mud hut ! There were three patients  on beds in the clinic when we arrived.

Saturday we drove to Assahoun for the regional market day which covered a few acres. Some of our number bought African cloth which the villagers turned into clothing to bring back to America. They market sold spices, luggage, rice, cassava, clothing and all kinds of plastic stuff. I noticed  that there was no indigenous art.

Saturday, each of thirteen village choirs put on an entertainment in our honor. The Chief, and the whole village attended. They had come from far and wide for Sunday Mass, mostly walking.

Father Ryan is building a beautiful church to accommodate hundreds! The crowded Sunday Mass lasted three hours, but went by like  a flash. Tremendous energy, singing and dancing. During Mass I was given a dancing lesson, for apparently I was not dancing correctly; nobody form New England does.  Towards the end of Mass my Chasuble was removed and they wrapped a large African garment around me and , along with Father Hughes, we spoke to the congregation. All nine  of us shook hands with every person who attended. The distant villagers had spent the night sleeping on the floors of the schools, commenting on how smooth the floors were.  After Mass, the boys and girls of the middle school staged a play, telling the compelling story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Then, each village went to its designated area for a meal provided by the Parish.

Back at the rectory on Sunday, we celebrated a nice meal with the family of Father Jonathan,  a dynamite young  Togo priest, just ordained  and assigned to the parish as Father Ryan’s assistant. A  good dancer ! He had to celebrate seven First Masses in various villages in which his family is known.

The temperature when we arrived was 99 degrees and 80% humidity. There is no air conditioning.

So, in summary, this amazing priest, Father Bill Ryan, who visits us each summer, in twelve years has:  Drilled eleven fresh water wells; constructed a sun powered high tank for water distribution; created a clinic and pharmacy; started a palm oil and palm soap operation and a cassava flour operation giving work to many persons; started seven schools, now enrolling 1100 students; built four chapels an a major parish church and started a teak tree project to support these ministries on a permanent basis.  Besides the teak tree project, his biggest current work is the construction of a  residential Lyceum, a higher form of education in the French system. So students can continue their education. In Togo, the graduate of a Lyceum can receive a job as a teacher in the public system. The priest doesn’t stop. Pray for the continued success of Father Ryan and  Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish !

We left from Lome Sunday night. I will try to put together a show in the Crystal Room with pictures of this amazing , transformative trip.

 

 

Visit the Crystal Room at Foggy Bottom

The Crystal Room is now open for our use. Come down after Mass to inspect it. We are providing hospitality after the 9 Am and 11 AM Masses, and we are willing to provide hospitality after any Mass which provides volunteers. Over $16,000 in kitchen equipment will be delivered soon. Our renovation includes the Crystal Room ; the Caterer’s Prep area-  which will soon include a commercial refrigerator, and commercial freezer, a convection oven, two wine coolers, and stainless steel tables, as well as a double stainless steel sink and disposal;  a cloak room, storage areas – for  El Shaddai, chairs, tables; and a kitchen which will include a new stove, a refrigerator, an ice maker and a griddle; as well as a new Ladies’ Room, Men’s Room and maintenance closet. A substantial amount of new shelving is also coming.

 

Grate Ministry

Grate Ministry, which distributes food to persons living on the streets, is in need of help next weekend, both Saturday and Sunday early mornings. Tina, the coordinator will be away. Please contact our parishioner Glenn Marsh at 703-622-6484 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you have not volunteered before, Glenn can provide more  information.

 

2019 Cardinal Foley Lecture

The Church and Social Communications From Anger to Renewal: Communications and the Crisis in the Church. 2019 Cardinal Foley Lecture.pdf

Fr. Bill Ryan's The Teak Tree Project!

The goal of this project is to *permanently* assist hundreds of subsistence farmers in Togo and their thousands of children.

Background: Twelve years ago, Father Bill Ryan returned to his former Peace Corps posting in Togo, West Africa to assist the subsistence farmers there. The poverty of the people in this    region never left his heart. 

So far he has opened a health clinic, dug eleven fresh water wells for villagers who were drinking muddy water; opened six primary schools and one middle school; built 20 latrines for hygiene; bought equipment to allow farmers to process their own cassava flour and palm oil, thereby raising their incomes. 

He now has over 1,100 students in the schools he has created. But how will all this good work be supported when he inevitably can no longer carry on?

Behold – THE TEAK TREE PROJECT!

Land is available for 100,000 teak seedlings. In ten years, ten thousand trees can be sold each year to support the clinic, the pharmacy, the schools and  other worthwhile projects.

THE COST OF PREPARING THE GROUND, PLANTING THE SEEDLINGS AND MAINTAINING THEM FOR THE CRITICAL FIRST TWO YEARS IS ONLY $1 PER TREE!   


The online link to this project, also on our website, is   https://www.gofundme.com/plant-a-tree-save-a-child.  Help to spread the word among your friends. Short Code: 797979 “TOGO”.  We encourage you to add the link to the Teak Tree Project to your Facebook  page.

 

We Need Your Help to Keep our Beautiful Music Ministry

Our commitment to maintain beautiful worship requires  half of our offertory. Music plays a major role in our being “a spiritual oasis in the city“. We are known as the church which embraces beautiful music. Recently one of the GW Knights was  home in Connecticut and mentioned that he attended Saint Stephen Martyr. The Bishop of Bridgeport, said, ”Oh, the church with the beautiful music!”. Please help us keep this tradition alive. Our Christmas Concert is coming up Thursday, December 13th. Please consider being a Supporter, Donor, Sponsor, Patron, Maestro or a member of the Leadership Circle. You may use a special envelope in the vestibule or our offertory packet, or simply write Music on the memo line of a check you drop into the offertory. I will be doing the same.

Year End Gifts of Appreciated Stock

Now is a  superb time of the year to consider a   significant gift to our Music Ministry.  This past week we have received gifts of appreciated stock and warrants amounting to $ 19,939.20. During the year we have also received significant bequests.  Gifts to the music  ministry stay  entirely within the Parish to maintain our music ministry; no part of it leaves the Parish. Please see the back page for our list of thank you premiums.

 

POSTPONED! 150th Anniversary Mass and Dedication of our New Renovated Hall

Dedication  postponed. No longer December 9th

Construction delays make it impossible to celebrate our 150th Anniversary and Dedication of the Crystal Room at Foggy Bottom on December 9th as planned. I sincerely apologize. We will re-schedule and announce the new Anniversary and Dedication date, probably in January, when I am certain we will have a Use and Occupancy   permit. Thank you for your patience and understanding.  Msgr. Paul

 

 

Acts of the Apostles

New Bible Study Group

Resumes, this Sunday, February 3rd after the 11 Am Mass, in the Gallery.

 

REJOICE AND BE GLAD STUDY GROUP

 

Deacon John Liu will lead a discussion of Pope Francis’ much acclaimed   recent encyclical calling each of us to holiness.  To access the encyclical         online type on your web search engine: Rejoice and Be Glad. Then click on Gaudete et exsultate: Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness in...On Wednesdays, after the 12:10 pm Mass in the Gallery, downstairs in the rectory.

Rejoice and Be Glad is the apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate of the Holy Father Francis on the call to holiness in today's world.  The words are taken from the Gospel of Matthew (5:12) at the end of the discourse on the Beatitudes. Pope Francis uses Scripture and the witness of the saints (both canonized and those holy people we already know) to demonstrate that God's call to holiness is from each and every one of us.  Moving, inspirational, and, yes, "Rejoice and Be Glad" will surely guide our faith for years to come.  In this plain English study guide, acclaimed scholar and theologian Bill Huebsch makes Pope Francis' message even more accessible, with paraphrased summaries of each numbered section, and prayerful discussion and reflection questions that can help each of us see how Francis' words apply to our own lives.  This group reading and sharing program would help all believers       understand, celebrate, and live Francis' message of Gospel joy, love and peace.

 

Chapter 1: The Call to Holiness

Chapter 2: Two Subtle Enemies of Holiness

Chapter 3: In the Light of the Master

Chapter 4: Signs of Holiness in Today's World

Chapter 5: Spiritual Combat, Vigilance and Discernment

 

Pakistan Scholarship Report

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