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With the announcement of the Beatification of our Capuchin friar Solanus Casey on November 18 at Ford Field, I’ve had a lot of people ask what this means for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. When I see the old black and white photos of the long lines of people that waited to see Fr. Solanus what I’m reminded of is how much people suffer in our world. The Beatification is, in many ways, a very public acknowledgment of the amount of suffering that people face and a challenge to all of us to try to respond in some faith-filled way to what we ourselves and/or what others are going through. It might be checking in on a neighbor in need; carefully listening (like Fr. Solanus) to what someone is going through; or maybe questioning tendencies in policies in education, transportation, housing, and health care that might perpetuate some types suffering. And we ask for God’s help to find this healing.
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of many people, churches, Dominican Sisters, staff and various organizations, a monumental amount of school supplies were donated to the Rosa Parks Program during August 2017
All together we were able to distribute 339 backpacks filled with school supplies. Finally, Friday afternoon, Sept. 1, we had to start packing supplies in plastic bags as we ran out of backpacks.
One of the best components of the school supply distribution was that before any supplies were given, a conversation was held with each child and their parent regarding how they were going to make education a priority this coming year. The discussions ensued with honest and worthwhile thoughts about more time on homework and reading—and less time on TV and social media.
I, Joseph (Jose) Panakkalody, am a Franciscan Capuchin from Kerala-India. I belong to the Province of the Pavanatma (Holy Spirit) of the Capuchins. This Province spreads in the North-West of the State of Kerala. Our Province was erected around ten years back by bifurcating the St. Joseph Province of Kerala. I am here in America under a contract between the St. Joseph Province of the Capuchins in America and the Pavanatma Province back home.
People whom I meet in the Solanus Casey Center often ask me, “Did you choose to work here or did your superiors send you.” The answer is, it is the decision of my superiors that I come here and work. People who know about the Capuchin friars might know that we vow obedience to our superiors. Therefore, when one is asked to go somewhere and work he goes and when one is called back he returns home. And the next question people ask me is, “Do you like America and work here with the Capuchins?” Of course, I do; because I see the friars everywhere humane, loving and caring, and so do here.
Rosa Parks Youth program recently just ended its Summer Peace Camp with an amazing graduation celebration. At the graduation, we premiered a film entitled “We Matter,” which was created by the Rosa Parks Youth program teens and the Get Ahead Stay Ahead Project.