Confirmation class aids India’s tsunami recovery

SILVIS — Five families in India whose homes were destroyed by the massive tsunami of December 2004 will get new homes, thanks to the faithful work of nine teenagers from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Silvis.

Those teens are the members of their parish’s confirmation class that raised $1,500 during the past year as a service project to support tsunami relief in the Diocese of Guntar, India.

“The project was undertaken through Divine Word Missionaries of Techny, Ill., who have 6,000 missionaries worldwide,” said Mrs. Lisa Levy, coordinator of her parish’s “Los Santos” (The Saints) confirmation program.

The students are now in their second year of preparation for confirmation. They will be confirmed next November.

Last fall, Mrs. Levy encouraged her students to take on a service project that would enable them to live out the words of Jesus, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Mrs Levy had first learned about Divine Word Missionaries while growing up in the Chicago area. The Divine Word Missionaries are a Catholic missionary society whose priests and Brothers serve the poor, neglected and disadvantaged in more than 67 countries around the world.

The Fall 2007 issue of Divine Word Missionaries Magazine included an appeal from Bishop Gali Bali of Guntar, asking for donations to help rebuild homes in his diocese. Mrs. Levy and Father Ray Guthrie, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, thought it would be the perfect project for the students.

Families in India were not the only ones who benefited from their generosity. Not long after they began their service project, an apartment complex was destroyed by fire in Carbon Cliff, near Silvis.

“The students gave half of the proceeds from the first fundraiser, $400, to the Red Cross, on behalf of the fire victims,” said Mrs. Levy.

Grateful for their kindness, Divine Word Missionaries decided to feature the Los Santos confirmation students’ project in the Fall 2008 issue of their magazine, which is sent to more than 200,000 people around the world.

The Fall 2008 issue of Divine Word Missionaries Magazine may be downloaded at www.svdmissions.org. The story about the Los Santos teens is on page 20.

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