A MESSAGE FROM FATHER LOU
ORTHOPRAXIA – “LOVE IN ACTION”
On the eve of this past Theophany following the Blessing of Waters, I had an opportunity to fly to New Orleans, LA to participate in an IOCC Build in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity. I met my brother, Dan Christopulos, IOCC United States Country Representative and IOCC Senior Program Manager, Greg Manzuk, along with six seminarians from: Holy Cross Seminary (GOC); Saint Vladimir Seminary (OCA); Saint Herman Seminary (OCA); and Christ Our Savior Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Seminary. We proceeded to our build site near Slidell, LA, about 35 miles north of New Orleans near the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Habitat was building four small homes in a lower income area. Our team, along with two college building teams, were hosted by a local Lutheran congregation who, following Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, have converted building space into sleeping quarters for Habitat building teams. IOCC has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity in dozens of these volunteer projects over the years, 11 of which have been in New Orleans and two near Loveland, CO, last summer following the floods in the Fall of 2013 (that many of our parishioners participated in). Habitat for Humanity depends on volunteer labor to build new or repair damaged homes. Lower income new home owners can qualify for 30 year no interest loans by fulfilling certain criteria including hundred of hours of sweat equity on their own house or another Habitat house and attending budgeting and finance classes. After working 3 ½ days on the houses, we visited the Ninth Ward in New Orleans where some 600 people lost their lives during Hurricane Katrina. Many of the houses destroyed have been repaired or rebuilt, however the devastation was still evident and many other homes or areas remain virtually untouched ten years later.
This experience was but one more example of “love in action” in fulfillment of the mission of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The annual IOCC Denver Metropolis Committee Fund raising dinner is just around the corner – Saturday, February 21 at the Assumption Cathedral. The event flier is included in this Kandili.
With Great Lent beginning this year on Clean Monday, February 23, and the three focuses of this beautiful period – Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving, please consider giving to IOCC as one of your almsgiving offerings’ of “love in action” – Ortho – praxia.
For more information about IOCC please visit www.IOCC.org. Note: There are some summer internship slots available for young adults. If you are interested please visit: www.iocc.org/getinvolved_internship1.aspx
With our Lord’s Blessings, Fr. Lou