Purpose and Mission of St. John’s Third World Apostolate
St. John’s Third World Apostolate was established to serve God’s poor without regard to nationality, race or creed. Its mission is to promote awareness in the parish of the needs of the poor, to encourage parishioners to become personally involved in helping the poor, and to provide assistance to needy persons mainly in developing countries but also in our own. Since its inception, the Apostolate has supported various overseas projects through the auspices of Catholic missionaries and organizations working in Africa, Haiti, Honduras, and South America and has provided direct assistance to our sister parish in the Dominican Republic. Locally, the Apostolate has assisted the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker House in Worcester.
Activities and Projects Sponsored by the Apostolate
The Giving Tree is a popular Advent tradition at St. John’s. Gifts go to the poor in Haiti, Latin America, the Philippines and Worcester. In 2006, gift donations were also solicited to purchase gutters for 100 rural homes on the Haitian Island of Ile a Vache (Cow Island) for collection of drinking water. In the past St. John’s has sponsored multiple well drilling projects on that island but these homes are away from the parts of the island covered by those earlier water projects.
Over the years, The Giving Tree project has also collected medicines, vitamins, school supplies and recreational equipment for children in developing countries as well as clothing and gift certificates for food and shoes for the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker House in Worcester.
The Child School Sponsorship Program is the Apostolate’s major effort to help poor children around the globe. Over 200 needy children have been benefited. Projects supported over the years include missions in Haiti, Honduras, the Philippines and Zambia, the South American missionary work of St. James the Apostle, and Fr. Henault`s mission on Ile a Vache (an island) off the coast of Haiti.
Annually, St. John’s collects bicycles for The Bikes-Not-Bombs Program located in Jamaica Plain, MA. Through this program, bicycles are donated and shipped each year to bicycle projects in Guatemala, Ghana, and South Africa. St. John’s collected over 350 bicycles for this organization through their 2006 collection efforts setting a new record for the organization.
Rebuilding of Our Lady of the Snows Church near La Paz, Bolivia was a special project of the Apostolate in 2004. The old church was a mud and hay chapel located in a very poor and remote village and collapsed during a storm. A new and sturdier church was designed as a replacement. St. John’s contributed $11,000 for construction materials and with the help of local labor, a beautiful new church and courtyard was constructed.
Our Sister Parish is the Parish of San Antonio in Higuey, Dominican Republic. St. John’s has helped them with construction costs for a cultural and vocational training center and has donated used computer equipment, sewing machines and supplies, hairdressing equipment, school books, recreational gear and numerous supplies.
Meetings and Membership of the Apostolate
The Apostolate meets one evening every month in the Parish Center Library. Interested parishioners are always welcome to attend. For more information about the Apostolate, please contact Marie Buckley, Pastoral Associate of St. John’s at 508-435-3313, x 206.