Blessed by a special visitor - Catholic Courier

Blessed by a special visitor

This past weekend, our church welcomed our annual visitor, Father John Drexel. Each summer, Father John shares a Sunday Mass with the parishioners of St. Helen in Gates, the church community in which he grew up. He moved to San Paolo, Brazil, more than 40 years ago and founded the Maria Helen Drexel Association, which provides a nurturing environment for hundreds of street children.
The Maria Helen Drexel Association holds a special place in my heart. I’m just in awe of all the work Father John has done for that community. At 83 years old, he shows no signs of slowing down. I’m glad I could be a small part of his ministry with my prayer and generous offerings. 
While I enjoy hearing Father John’s updates about the association, it is the way he shares the Mass with us that I enjoy the most. Because his sight has diminished over the years, he steps away from the lectern and shares the Gospel in the aisle, having memorized the entire passage. He also has us extend across the aisle to hold hands during the Our Father. At the Sign of Peace, Father John walks all around the church, offering peace to almost everyone in the congregation. He also recites some of the eucharistic prayer in Portuguese. 
While our church community is uncertain how many more opportunities we will have to share Mass with Father John, we are so blessed for the times we have been given, but more importantly, we are so grateful for the work that Father John has done and continues to do for our brothers and sisters in Brazil. 

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