Our Youth

Molloy Helps with Lourdes Healing

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By Brother Patrick Hogan, F.M.S.

The mandate of Pope Francis to the youth of this world is to go out and make noise: don’t just talk about the poor, the sick and the

disenfranchised; go and do something about it.

Since 2005, the St. Marcellin Champagnat Society at Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, has done just that; 350 Molloy students have been involved in helping the poor and disenfranchised.

Last summer, we stayed home and worked in Rockaway to help people recover from Hurricane Sandy.

This summer, 25 members of the society flew to Lourdes in France to help the sick. With daily Mass and the rosary, we make an attempt to bring the reality of what the students learned in school into the world that we live in. Here are some thoughts of the students who came to Lourdes, all of whom are part of the Class of 2014.

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Sebastian Geraci, parishioner at St. Robert Bellarmine, Bayside
“I am so glad that I was able to travel to Lourdes this summer. The work all the volunteers took part in was incredible. What stood out to me was my work in the baths. I saw men in the changing room who were jovial, excited, and eager to take a bath. When they approached the first step, I watched as their expressions changed from smiles to tears. Afterwards they could do nothing but gently smile, with tears in their eyes, and say, ‘thank you.’ No matter what language a person spoke, you knew the message they were conveying to you. It was so touching to not only see the difference you made in each person’s life but to feel what they felt in their hearts. Volunteering in Lourdes was such a rewarding experience. I hope I have a chance to relive the week I spent there in the near future.”

Rebecca Wagner, a parishioner at Our Lady of Hope, Middle Village
“No matter what happens in my life from this point on I will never forget this experience these past two weeks. Love, compassion, friendship and unity are only a small amount of the things I have learned along this journey with some of the best people I have ever met. It’s so hard to explain in so little words the new spirit instilled in me and the sense of courage I have in myself and all I’m capable of doing.
“I am Marist and this has new meaning for me. Whether it’s working in the baths at Lourdes, walking the rosary procession or hiking through the French countryside, in the footsteps of Champagnat, I am ever grateful for all that I have been blessed to do and experience.”

Samantha Grech, parishioner at Most Precious Blood, Astoriaphoto 2
“Lourdes isn’t just a sacred place, but it is the people rooted in their faith and stories of pilgrims. It is invigorating, to see people of such faith. And quite moving to be part of their once in a lifetime experience. I hope I can successfully bring back the spirit of hope to my family and friends here in N.Y.”

Julia Antignani, parishioner of Our Lady of Grace, Howard Beach
“Going to Lourdes was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I met so many amazing people and the looks of joy on the faces of the sick I helped will stay with me forever. The hermitage connected me with Marcellin Champagnat more than I ever could have imagined and I’m grateful for that. We truly do walk in the footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat.”

So how did we make noise? When the blue shirts of the society descend on a place, people stop us and ask: Who are you and where do you come from? You make noise when you want someone to take notice. The women in charge of the baths constantly stopped us to express their gratitude for the help we gave. The guys unloading the trains and putting the people on stretchers and in wheel chairs hour after hour saw the importance of their work.

This Easter, we are planning another trip to the Dominican Republic to work with poor and disadvantaged children.


Brother Patrick has been a teacher at Molloy since 1964.