(Image: Our Lady of Perpetual Help)
Father Patrick McGillicuddy, ’71, a Redemptorist Missionary who has been working in Brazil since 1980, founded The Perpetual Help Project in 1992. The purpose was to attend the basic needs of young adults and street prostitutes in Curitiba, a major city in southern Brazil. The project offers housing and employment, emergency food relief, counseling, drug, alcohol and abuse counseling as well as a hot meal to more than 250 people every day.
The Perpetual Help Project now has a receiving centre for prostitutes, a boarding school for street youths, a rehabilitation centre for those suffering from substance abuse, and a home for graduates from the school. Father Pat also maintains St. Clement Preparatory School, a night school that offers a basic education for rag-pickers. All these successful projects provide life-giving hope to the castaways of society. Father Pat concludes,
“Still, it is only a drop of love in a sea of misery but that little drop of love
gives hope and life to so many through the life-giving love of the Lord present in this ministry.”
(Image: A favella in Brazil)
On a recent visit to the Propagation office, Fr. Patrick McGillicuddy, C.Ss.R. shared details of his work in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Fr. Pat has worked for many years with what he terms ‘the throw-aways’ of society – prostitutes, drug addicts and troubled young adults. He told us the work at his center, named for Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is not easy to promote because of the people who he serves. “There are no adorable children or cuddly elderly people to put on a poster,” he says. “These are people that society considers trouble; most of us would rather look away.”
Fr. Pat does not avert his gaze. Instead, he has welcomed all in faith; people find shelter, food, drug rehabilitation if they need it and, most importantly, education.
On this subject, he does not mince words. He tells us that many of the young people who come to him from the streets actually have the equivalent of a high school diploma. When they are tested for proficiency, however, they are found to be reading and writing at about a second grade level. They have been passed from grade to grade just to keep them moving through the system. Fr. Pat calls this “a disaster”.
Because of support that he has received through the Propagation of the Faith in parishes across the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Pat offers people a new way of life. He invites them to learn about themselves, teaches them life skills and introduces them to the key: faith in Jesus. “We never force it on anyone, of course,” Father says with his slight Irish lilt. “But they all end up asking to be baptized – every one of them.”
After listening to Fr. Pat, in his own words (above) please say a prayer of thanksgiving for your own education that allows you to read this; add a prayer for those that Fr. Pat serves – the “least of our brothers and sisters.”
– Maureen Crowley Heil, (Sunday, July 25, 2010)
Monetary donations are kindly accepted by check and should be made out to: Saint Julia Parish, with the memo clearly indicating “Propagation of the Faith.” Mail to: St. Julia Parish, 374 Boston Post Road, Weston, MA 02493
Thank you for your generosity in supporting this cause and helping our brothers and sisters of need in Brazil.
Learn more about our local Society for the Propagation of the Faith and their related missions.