School alumni to donate money for Harvey relief

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 - Updated: 2:01 pm

By William Cone Editor

Members of the Bishop’s Latin School Alumni Association recently made a commitment to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

The new “Father Joe Henry SJ-Bishop’s Latin School Mercy Fund” will go to seminarians in the archdiocese who will distribute the money in person through “micro-grants” to individuals who demonstrate great need.

The seminarians will be asked to pray about what it means to be a good Samaritan, give when an opportunity presents itself and reflect on what they experienced, according to a letter from the BLSAA to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and a Bishop’s Latin School alumnus, Class of 1967.

Although the need in Texas is massive, this gesture “is consistent with Pope Francis’ call to not simply throw a few coins in the pauper’s cup, but to press the money into his hand, look him in the eye to make human contact and speak heart to heart: ‘God bless you!’ This is the true virtue of charity,” said Father Lou Vallone, Class of 1967 and moderator of the alumni association.

He said it’s similar to Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, almoner to His Holiness, who besides writing big checks for the pope’s charities, walks the streets of Rome to personally hand small amounts of cash to those in need.

“We hope our gesture, with the cooperation of the seminarians, will remain authentic to this,” Father Vallone said. 

He estimated the amount being donated by individuals and the organization to be more than $10,000.

It is hoped that the seminarians will learn from the experience and establish a spiritual bond with the alumni association, Father Vallone said.

“What we are trying to live out is the parable of the widow’s mite in answer to Jesus’ command,” Father Vallone said. “Our small amount of money might not be a balm to the ravages of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, but with our hearts speaking through the hearts and hands of the seminarians to the victims, we intend to be the epitome of Francis’ two favorite virtues: mercy and joy.”

The Bishop’s Latin School was opened in 1961 by Bishop John Wright as the pre-seminary high school of the diocese. It was located in Pittsburgh’s Homewood, East Liberty and South Side neighborhoods before its doors were closed in 1973. Six members of the first graduating class were ordained to the priesthood, and a number of others followed.

Jesuit Father Joe Henry was a BLS teacher and longtime supporter of the school. Information on the alumni association can be found at www.blsalum.org.

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