SCHROON LAKE - For several years, the parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church have been involved in contributing to the North Country Mission of Hope which has been sending volunteers to Nicaragua.
Five adult members, including their pastor Father Richard Sturtz, along with four teenaged parishioners, have worked with the poor in Chiquilistagua - a barrio near the city of Managua. Ten years ago, Sister Debbie Blow, Director of the Mission of Hope, was invited to speak to the parishioners in Schroon Lake about the work that the Plattsburgh-based group was doing to assist the needy in Nicaragua, the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Since her first visit to the parish, Sister has returned each year to speak to parishioners. Each year they have responded with financial help either in providing an education for the youth who otherwise would not be able to attend school or in contributing to a program that provides a substantial meal once a day to school children in two different schools. Money also has been given to provide for the needs of Nicaraguans at several clinics offering health services, a home for the disabled, an orphanage and programs for some families who are forced to seek livelihood scrounging in the Managua city dump.
When Sister visited the parish this July parishioners donated over $10,000 to assist in the completion of a compound which will be the permanent home of the Mission of Hope in Chiquilistagua where local people will be available daily to assist their neighbors who come for assistance. In February, the parishioners of Saint Joseph's Church in Olmstedville, which is also served by Father Sturtz as pastor, provided funds for a home shelter for a needy family. When two of the members of Our Lady of Lourdes arrived in Nicaragua later this month they will be present for the building of four home shelters financed by fellow parishioners back home.