By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor
Fr. Bob Hasenkamp helps a potential sponsor after a Mass.
A group photo of the Unbound preachers gathered for the 2014 Unbound Preachers’ Conference.
My original job when I first came to Unbound involved working with the priests who travel the U.S., preaching in churches to help us find new sponsors. A few years ago I was traveling from Kansas City to Dallas to support Father Anthony Nguyen, who was preaching for Unbound for the first time that weekend. Father Anthony would fly in shortly from California, where he lived, and we would drive together to the parish we were visiting in southern Oklahoma.
As I walked around the airport waiting for Father Anthony’s flight to arrive, I was surprised to see Father Cyrus Gallagher, another Unbound preacher. He was traveling from Denver, where he lived, to a church in Washington state, and was hurrying to make his connecting flight. We greeted each other briefly and on he went.
Not two minutes later, while still thinking about the coincidence of running into an Unbound priest at the Dallas airport, who should I see but yet another of our preachers, Father Marty Holler, getting off the tram from a different terminal. Father Marty, who lives in Ohio, was traveling to preach at a church in Indianapolis.
Briana, left, and Megan, right, hold photos of Ana, the child they’ve sponsored together for more than four years.
Best friends Briana Murphy and Megan McLaughlin wanted a way to stay connected when they graduated from high school and went away to different colleges.
They also felt motivated by their faith to contribute for the good of others, so they decided to sponsor a child through Unbound as a way to do both.
Alice, a sponsored elder in Kenya.
When Pope Francis visits Africa Nov. 25-30, sponsored elder Alice in Kenya will be among the faithful hoping to see him.
Fatuma and her daughter Fosia, an Unbound sponsored youth.
Most of the major religious traditions of the world have an appreciation for fasting. While they vary in specific practices, the religions share a recognition of fasting as a sacred discipline that teaches self-control and respect for the gift of sustenance.
Muslims are about to enter into Ramadan (June 17-July 17), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which they fast daily from dawn to sunset. Ramadan commemorates the presentation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and is considered one of the most important observances of Islam.
Fatuma is a single mother of nine children, two of whom are sponsored through Unbound. She and her family live in Kenya and are devout Muslims. Recently Fatuma shared with us what Ramadan means to them.
By Scott Wasserman, president and CEO of Unbound
As a community of peace and love, all of us at Unbound stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters affected by the violence Sunday at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom Assisted Living Center near Kansas City, just a few miles from the world headquarters of Unbound.
Three innocent people are dead. Their families and friends are forever impacted, and the entire community is searching for answers to a terrible act that can never be fully explained.
The fact that this heinous crime was committed on the eve of Passover and the beginning of Holy Week makes the outcome all the more painful.
While the attacks are considered a hate crime and took place at Jewish centers, this was an attack on all people of faith and good will.
Unbound works with people of all faiths throughout the world in a spirit of peace and unity. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were killed, to the Jewish community and all who are threatened by violence because of their religious beliefs.
The Unbound family condemns this violence. We are praying for all who were impacted.
A picture Janelle Stamm took of Pope Francis at his inaugural Mass.
Janelle Stamm, accounting specialist for our office in Kansas City, was able to attend the installation Mass for Pope Francis with her daughter, Megan, as part of Megan’s high school senior class pilgrimage to Italy. Here are her thoughts on this historic occasion.
It’s been more than 40 hours since Papa Francesco was installed, and I’m just thrilled.
It. Was. Amazing.
Seeing the Pope up front, receiving communion blessed by him and sharing the entire experience with Megan is priceless.
After the Mass was over, the more than 40 participants on our pilgrimage swapped stories and pictures. Here is one of those stories along with the picture.
While waiting for the Pope to arrive, two of our high school senior girls, Kelsey and Virginia, met a couple who traveled from Argentina to Rome for the sole purpose to have their baby blessed. Kelsey and Virginia helped by handing the baby, named Joseph, to Papa Francesco.
The faith of this couple in Papa Francesco demonstrated by their sacrifice of time and money to travel all that way combined with the faith in others as they handed their baby over is humbling.
It has left a profound impact on all of us who have heard the story thus far and also contributes to my excitement about our new Pope.
Furthermore, it feels like Papa Francesco’s commitment to the poor aligns perfectly with CFCA’s mission. This alignment confirms my belief that the blessings I prayed for CFCA, our sponsors and our sponsored friends and families will be answered.