Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

 

Pumpkin_0457A pumpkin sailor floats on hay in the parking lot at St. Anthony Church in Prospect, which has been turned into a pumpkin patch for a good cause. (Photo by Jeff Guerrette)

 

The parish is conducting a pumpkin sale through 31 to help fund a new "Hope" ministry that is meant to enhance the quality of life and self-sufficiency of the community.The sale is conducted from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

All of the proceeds will go toward developing a new approach to church giving in the parish. In addition to giving money or food for immediate needs, the parish will provide financial, educational, practical and spiritual guidance to help people in Prospect who are in need.

As Father Mark Suslenko, pastor, explained, "It's one thing to say, 'We're going to collect food for the needy.' That's a hands-on response. But there's another part of it, which is, 'Why is this need happening in the first place? Why do we have this gap? What is it in our lifestyle that contributes to these gaps?'"

In an effort to close this gap, Father Suslenko has pulled together a committee of people with a variety of skills and abilities, including financial and social service expertise for families on the brink.

David Byrne, a committee member, said, "Any Prospect resident can come to the parish center or call to seek help. They don’t have to be a member of the church and, of course, any contact will be kept in the strictest confidence."

Michael Accuosti, a pastoral council member, said, "We wanted to move away from just giving out money. We want to find out what the root cause of the problem is and not just throw money at people."

Father Suslenko and Mr. Accuosti said that traditional church giving, such as the food bank and short-term financial assistance, would continue in the parish. The new ministry will be an adjunct to existing programs.

The pumpkin sale will take place at the corner of Routes 68 and 69 in Prospect. In addition to selling pumpkins, the church will have entertainment, storytellers for the children, games and other seasonal food items for sale.

Information about the sale, ministry or volunteer opportunities is available by calling the parish center at (203) 758-4056, ext. 17.