BANGOR---Thanks to a generous $1,000 donation from St. Paul the Apostle Parish and additional gifts from parish families, dozens of Bangor area teens were able to join together this Lent in protecting children in Uganda from crippling parasites through “Sole Hope.”
“Youth ministry was able to prepare and sponsor 118 pairs of shoes,” said Evelyn Clark, a youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul the Apostle (St. John Church, Bangor; St. Mary Church, Bangor; St. Joseph Church, Brewer; St. Teresa Church, Brewer; St. Matthew Church, Hampden; St. Gabriel Church, Winterport).
Over the course of two evenings in March, the youth ministry group met at St. Mary in Bangor and St. Joseph in Brewer to cut pieces of denim which made up the body of the shoe. The pieces of denim, which had been collected for over a year by the Morse family, had been carefully traced using a template.
“The denim was donated by parishioners and by the Attic Thrift Store which is operated by All Saints Catholic School,” said Clark. “Often multiple shoes could be prepared from a single pair of jeans.”
After the cutting, the 10 individual shoe pieces were pinned together so that they can be sent off to Uganda for assembly.
The teens embraced the opportunity of working on an initiative that would make a tangible impact on the lives of others. Fittingly, one of the shoe parties was on the Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19), giving the participants the change to work with their hands just as St. Joseph did.
"It is inspiring to see the members of our youth ministry group putting their faith into action. In helping to make these shoes, they are 'walking the walk' on behalf of our brothers and sisters in need," said Monsignor Andrew Dubois, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish.
Six thousand miles separate Bangor and Uganda, but the project still had a direct connection.
“Fr. Robert Tumwekwase, AJ, who serves as priest at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Bangor, spoke about his homeland of Uganda, giving insight into life and culture there, and readily answered questions from the young people about the similarities and differences between life in Uganda and the U.S.,” said Clark.
"Sole Hope" is a non-profit organization that works to keep Ugandan children safe from parasitic fleas which embed themselves in the feet and lead to painful infections. The denim pieces cut by the youth ministry families will be sent to Uganda, where local crafts people will create shoes which will then be given to children to wear.
“Along with funding the shoemaking, the money donated by the parish as well as youth ministry families and other parishioners will also sponsor hygiene clinics, education, and efforts to eliminate the parasite,” said Clark.
For more information about “Sole Hope,” visit www.solehope.org.