Spent a great evening yesterday at our "Partner Parish," Saint Francis of Assisi parish in Harrisburg, where the Joshua Group has started an evening program for the youth of the neighborhood. 3 evenings a week they open the cafeteria and gym for neighborhood kids to come and enjoy healthy recreation with their peers and get a good meal. The young woman who runs the kitchen talked with me about her vision for the program: she overcame a crack cocaine addiction and a violent past, and wants the kids in this rough neighborhood of the city to know that there's an alternative to seeing drug violence on their streets every day. "This is my 'hood and I want to take it back," she said. One of the little guys playing basketball told me about the shooting (drug-related murder) in front of his house a few nights ago, and others talked about the gunshots every night in this part of the city. About 30 kids, young and teenage, enter the open doors of the gym to shoot basketball or play kickball, and others stay downstairs to watch some healthy movies and play games. Last night, they had lasagna left over from the luncheon served in the Saint Francis Soup Kitchen a few hours before. For many of those kids, they would not have dinner if not for this program. With sufficient funding they want to open the doors 5 nights a week.
June 7, 2013
Msgr. William J. King