By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published January 5, 2012
Many people, lay and ordained, came together last month to provide a Christmas celebration for the residents of the South Colony Mobile Home Park.
It was the third year that volunteers brought gifts, food and good tidings to the community in South Atlanta. Rick Walker, a parishioner at Holy Trinity Church, Peachtree City, has been involved with the project since its inception and recently recalled how the movement started.
“It was three years ago, after listening to the testimony of (Legionary of Christ) Father Dominic Pham, where I agreed to assist the Missionaries of Charity with a Christmas party for the children living in South Colony,” he wrote. “With a short time frame to coordinate the logistics with the sisters, we were able to throw quite a joyous celebration recognizing the birth of our Savior, while providing the children and residents an example of Christian hospitality.”
This year, in addition to the Missionaries of Charity, young men and women from Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville, Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta, and Pinecrest Academy, Cumming, also joined in the event on Dec. 17. Walker said non-Catholics involved included Protestants and Mormons.
Youngsters of the South Colony Mobile Home Park dance with joy during the “Christmas for All” celebration on Dec. 17, 2011. Volunteers, who brought food and toys for the children, included local Catholic parishioners, Catholic school students and the Missionaries of Charity.
The celebration began with a Mass celebrated by Father Pham. The volunteers then spent time visiting and talking with the residents, while the children played, had their faces painted and enjoyed the animals used in a live nativity scene.
The children were treated to a catered lunch by the Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Forest Park. They also received a new backpack with a blanket inside as well as a gift bag with toys donated by the Toys for Tots campaign.
Women living in the mobile home park prepared hot chocolate and homemade tamales for the volunteers. “We appreciated their efforts in making us feel as much a part of their community as if we lived there as well,” commented Walker.
“It was truly a big party highlighted with great joy and a love for Christ,” Walker continued. “So many people contributed their time, talent and treasure to celebrate the birth of our Savior, while placing smiles on the faces of so many children who live day to day with very little of their own. For me, it was a blessing to see the blending of these communities for the love of Christ and his children.”