Autumn has officially arrived here in Pennsylvania. The leaves have started to turn color and are now beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The temperatures have started to drop and the days have gotten shorter. I have started to unpack sweaters and jackets, paid a visit to the pumpkin patch, and have been brainstorming Halloween costumes and treats. I have always loved this time of year and all of the fun and spooky festivities that accompany it. This love that I have for the Halloween season is why I was especially excited when I got to visit Africa and experience their traditions and celebrations!
Greetings and welcome back to Holly’s Headlines! I hope that everyone had a well-deserved, fun and relaxing summer. While everyone uses their downtime during the summer season differently, summertime for me is always used to play catch-up with long distance friends. Personally, I enjoy reaching out the “old fashioned way” – by handwriting a letter. While writing these letters this summer to my old friends, I found myself thinking about my African pen pal named Lilian. Throughout my years working in Africa I have met hundreds of children of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve encountered children who were healthy, children who were sickly and starving, children with families, and children who were orphaned. My encounters with all of these children brought me equal amounts of joy. However, there was one little girl in particular that really stuck out in the crowd.
As a Catholic of only 23 years, I have participated in many different groups and organizations to try and find my niche in the Church. One of my favorite Catholic organizations that I have been a member of is the Serra Club. The Serra Club and its members are devoted to promoting vocations to the priesthood and Religious life.
This past month we marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the first of the Pontifical Mission Societies, as well as the beatification of Pauline Jaricot, whose vision led to the founding of that Pope’s mission society.
Each April we celebrate “Earth Day.” Our planet is an amazing place, but it needs our help and TLC to thrive. I do try my best to do my part in cherishing, protecting, and treasuring the beautiful world God has given to us.
It currently seems impossible to turn on the television or radio without hearing something about the war happening in Ukraine. The death and destruction is accompanied by millions of people, fearing for their lives, fleeing as refugees to other countries for safety. Unfortunately, groups just as large are being left behind, cut off from basic utilities and lacking access to water, food, medication, electricity, sanitation, and even shelter. Hospital workers are struggling to give care and are being forced to relocate their patients to bomb shelters or basements. For many of us, the thought of this currently happening is almost impossible to comprehend and accept. Unfortunately, for myself, I have previously come face-to-face with the terrors that surround war.
I love Ash Wednesday: the symbolism of receiving a cross of ashes on my forehead; the start of Lent, 40 days for prayer and sacrifice, demonstrating our gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Every year these reminders help me to not take Jesus’ love for granted and to grow a bit more in my faith.