In a humble show of solidarity with two nations – Haiti and Nicaragua – boots, sneakers and every type of footwear in between were removed from the feet of St. Matthew the Apostle students and placed in the church sanctuary before the start of the Nov. 14 school Mass.
After Mass, students boxed the best of the bunch – 100 pair – and sent them to their destinations with the help of the archdiocesan Pontifical Mission Office.
“We don’t give what we are just going to throw away; we give what we still treasure,” noted Father Joseph Man Tran, pastor of St. Matthew, during the Mass’ homily. “We share what we have, and for that the Lord will bless us with many more blessings.”
Father Tran suggested that the abbreviation “SOS” – technically the Morse Code distress call for “Save Our Ship” – could also be interpreted as “Save Our Souls.”
“In November, we not only pray for the souls of the dead, but we are concerned about the souls of the living, the needy,” Father Tran said, noting that when we give back the joy God has given us to others in the firm of good works and sacrifice, “our joy will be doubled.”
Fourth grader Madison Laborde said her donation of a pair of her uniform shoes was not a difficult sacrifice because she tends to take the ability to buy such items for granted.
“I know my mom will always be there to buy me shoes,” Madison said.
During the offertory, students also brought up canned goods to the altar that are taken by St. Matthew’s Knights of Columbus to the food pantry at St. Rita, Harahan, each week.
In past years the school, under the leadership of mission coordinator JoAnn Caldcleugh, has sent backpacks filled with school supplies to Haiti, and toiletries and over-the-counter medications to Mexico and Nicaragua.
In addition to being a weekly donor of canned goods, fourth grader Logan Aucoin gave two coats to his school’s 2013 winter coat drive.
Said Logan: “We are going to St. Matthew the Apostle, a Catholic school, so we should be nice and help others.”