LANCASTER, Pa. — Kelly Ann Lynch, a founder of Mychal’s Message, a non-profit organization that continues to foster the spirit of the late Mychal Judge, OFM, and her daughter were guests of the God Squad TV show in March.
The March 17 program, featuring Monsignor Tom Hartman and Rabbi Marc Gellman, welcomed Lynch and her daughter, Shannon Hickey, a high school student who leads service projects to help the less fortunate in and around Lancaster.
On the interfaith program on the Faith & Values/VISN cable television network, Hickey described her efforts among teenagers in the community to enlighten youth to a world beyond the mall.
Lynch spoke of Mychal’s Message efforts to distribute clothes for the needy at Christmas to guests of the St Francis Church breadline on 31st Street in Manhattan.
In March, Hickey also arranged to take 300 preschool and kindergarten students from Lancaster’s poorest schools to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. Each year, Hickey chooses an anniversary project to celebrate the gift of her life-saving liver transplant in 1991. The senior at Lancaster Catholic High School celebrates her gift of life by giving back to others.
In this year’s project, Hickey shared her love of live theatre with underprivileged children who might otherwise never experience it. The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre offered to add a special performance of the already sold-out, widely popular, live show. “I want children to feel the joy that comes from experiencing a live performance,” Hickey said.
All students attending the March 27 performance enjoyed a buffet lunch at the theatre and received a goody bag to remember the day. The bags contained a signed copy of He Said Yes, The Story of Father Mychal Judge, written by Lynch. They also contained a stuffed lion, purchased with funds raised by Hickey’s 9-year-old brother, Christopher Lynch, in his first project, “Lions for The Poor,” and a Hershey bar donated by the Office of Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Diocese of Harrisburg.
Nearly $12,000 was raised by Mychal’s Message to fund the project, with donations from the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa.
Recently Lynch visited two New Jersey parishes. One was a Holy Name parish – St. Joseph’s in East Rutherford, where her family belonged before relocating to Pennsylvania.
“I always teach the children Father Mychal’s prayer when I do a school visit, but when I was at St. Joseph’s School, something very beautiful happened,” she said. “As I began to say the first line of the prayer (for them to repeat after me) … they all knew the prayer! They said the whole prayer with me.