On Monday April 1, an 18 year old Americorps volunteer, Joseph Massenburg, was shot to death while while walking down a street, talking on his phone. A recent high school graduate, he had just come to New Orleans to work at Green Light New Orleans, which installs energy efficient lighting at no charge for homeowners in need. His is the first recorded death for an Americorps worker in the nation; but sadly the 44th murder in the city of New Orleans this year. He was active in his hometown church community and his family spoke with great compassion in their grief.
Our Americorps volunteers are sponsored by a different organization, but one with similar goals, to give service to those in need. As we Christian Brothers focus on the values of “Liberation, compassion and presence” in our efforts at renewal, young men like Joseph model those values for us—working for liberation with compassion by being present to those in need.
Even as we reflected on Joseph’s death, we celebrated life among us. Travis Wain’s mother, Vicky, his aunt Helen and his sister returned late in the day from Lafayette, La. on Monday of Easter Week and John Petrullo’s Mother and Dad were here for dinner, so there was a chance for a get-together of the two families! Both families left on Tuesday and all here returned to regular ministries. Travis was in New Orleans working on a house; Matt traveled for his work while John and Br. Charles were back at Lantern Light; Bob was at St. Joe’s on Tulane and doing volunteer recruitment. John worked from home finishing some reports for his work with the School Leadership Center. Workmen were in during the week finishing installation of air conditioning systems in one part of the house and Bob replaced all the ceiling tiles in the side hall outside the Map Room. It is very dirty work since generations of dust, and crumbled plaster and unmentionables have collected up there, but the results are very satisfying. The parish has noted his work and is willing to raise money to pay for any ceiling tile replacement he can do!
On Saturday morning, April 6th, the Sisters of Holy Faith, Nancy Hale and Pauline O’Reilly, hosted an Associates meeting for about 15 associates and sponsors in the Blessed Pauline Room from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM; at 2:30 PM the ‘Friends of St. Henry’, former parishioners, arrived with food and wine in tow, to set up for a Golden Jubliee celebration for Sr. Marilita Roy, a Sister of the Living Word who grew up in this parish and once lived here as a Sister of Christian Charity. About 75 people attended a 4 PM Mass celebrated by Msgr. Henry Engelbrecht, the former Pastor. They came over afterward, and celebrated on the first floor and in two tents erected on the front lawn. The roses were in bloom around the statue of the Blessed Mother and were appreciated by many of the former parishioners!
|Walking on the levee, Vacherie, Louisiana|
The plantation has been owned by the same family since the 1870’s and one is welcomed and given tours by members of the extended family. It is less ‘dressed up’ but felt much more real than many such experiences. We headed off to Oak Alley for lunch! They have a good restaurant—the only one for many miles since the area is quite rural.
|Matt, Travis, Br. John, John|
Sunday evening John Petrullo made dinner and we discussed upcoming visitors this week. Besides our work during the day, we will be having guests for dinner and for longer stays in the days ahead.
[But for the picture of Joseph Massenburg, and our ‘group’ shot, the photos were taken by Matt Beben.]
|"Can we go home now?" "Nooo, we just got here."|
“Know the benediction of the Lord in these days!
In all your comings and goings, know He is there.
In all your joys and triumphs, know he upholds you.
In all your worries and heartaches, know that he cares.
And in all your worship, celebrating, dancing and laughing—
wherever you are—know that He is pleased.”