LITTLE FALLS, N.J. — As part of the parish’s focus on its Lenten theme of “Hearts Extended … Darfur,” 20 parishioners from Our Lady of the Holy Angels here participated in a Rally for Darfur on March 18.
The parishioners and pastor Robert Sandoz attended the rally at Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, N.J., to stand in solidarity with their Darfur brothers and sisters. Approximately 500 people were at the event which was educational and emotional at the same time.
It included an educational program led by representatives from Amnesty International, Women and Children in Darfur, and Help Darfur Now. Peace songs and prayers led by a Protestant minister, a priest and a rabbi were meaningful and beautiful. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was in attendance and pledged to go to the Senate floor to appeal for more funding for the refugees, and to impose government sanctions on the Sudanese government. New Jersey governor Jon Corzine sent a letter of support.
One of the most amazing things was to see all the high school and college students who participated. Many of these teens follow the Jewish faith, and because of their link to the Holocaust, they have a special connection to this Darfurian conflict. The New Jersey Coalition for Darfur comprises 22 faith-based organizations, high schools and colleges.
The Holy Angels parishioners came away with a sense of purpose to continue in this effort — not only during Lent, but until the genocide is ended and the people are no longer suffering.
For many weeks, the friars have been educating parishioners about the genocide of the Darfurian people. A variety of approaches has been used including preaching, articles in the parish bulletin, and multiple showings of the documentary “Darfur Diaries.” There are photo displays in the church from Franciscans International, the Holocaust Museum and Catholic Relief Services.
During Palm Sunday weekend, the parish will participate in a letter-writing campaign to the UN Sudanese ambassador and Congress encouraging more action to save the people. Fr. Mike Perry, OFM, will be the guest preacher at all the Palm Sunday liturgies. He will speak about the horrors taking place in Sudan.
— Lisa Sodano is chairperson of the JPIC Committee at Holy Angels parish.