There are many ways to put gratitude into practice, but the children at St. Mary’s Fatima Interim Care Center (ICC) decided on a gratitude tour.
HealeyIRF provides educational fees and operational support to the 23 children at St. Mary’s Fatima ICC. In addition, the surrounding community and local parishes have also taken the children to heart and provide resources.
“We want to ensure the children grow to be good citizens and appreciate the blessings they have received,” noted Fr. Peter Konteh, Executive Director Caritas Freetown. “This tour was a way for them to show and share their love to the many people who have supported them.”
Many of the churches send donations of food to help the children. Others provide clothes or funding for items the children need, like backpacks, books, and notebooks.
Visits to churches appreciated
The children’s first stop was Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Juba. After Mass they had a chance to say thank you to the parishioners. Over the next several weeks, visits were paid to six more churches: St. Luke’s in Wilberforce, St. Anthony’s in Brookfield, St. Elizabeth’s in Aberdeen, Blessed Michael Tansi in Godrich, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lakka, and Sacred Heart on Siaka Steven Street.
St. Mary’s Fatima ICC Social Worker James Nyamawa said, “The tour ended successfully. The Priests and parishioners appreciated the initiative and commented on how it had really brightened their day to see the children and how well they were doing.”
Learning about work at Don Bosco
The gratitude tour also included a visit to the Don Bosco Center in Tombo. The children wanted to learn about the work done by Don Bosco and to meet the children at the center. James explained, “It was lovely as the children had the opportunity to interact with children from another ICC and to see the work of Don Bosco.”
Don Bosco runs several shelters in Sierra Leone, and they have a program called Street-work. For this effort they take a bus at midnight into slum neighborhoods for outreach to at-risk children. They let them know about programs that can help them get off the street and training so they can find employment.
“It is important for the children at St. Mary’s Fatima ICC to say tenki to those who support them and to get a broad understanding of the world and the challenges others face,” commented Fr. Peter. “I am always encouraged by their grateful hearts and I was happy to share this gratitude tour with them.”
O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.