By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Monday/May 31, 2018/Belize City, Belize
On Saturday, May 12, St. Martin’s held its Mother’s Day Fair, our biggest fundraiser. I always pray that the day is, first of all, peaceful and, second of all, successful. Frighteningly, the day began with a non-lethal shooting right outside the parish office, and I thought “Oh God, this is not good.” But police apprehended the youthful shooter. And the day turned into the very best Fair of my tenure here at Martin’s. The rest of the day was safe and peaceful as hundreds of kids enjoyed the day, with all kinds of booths and prizes and foods. And on top of all that, the parish raised $23,000.00 BZ. Yeeehawww!!! All credit goes to a very hardworking parish staff and Fair Committee.
The following day at all the Masses I announced my imminent departure from St. Martin’s. That is right, I am leaving St. Martin’s. After seven years and long and thoughtful deliberations on the part of my Superiors and myself, it has been decided that I should report to St. Peter Claver Parish in Punta Gorda, Toledo District, in the south of Belize. Yes, it is heartbreaking to leave Martin’s, but I clearly see the necessity of it. My last Mass at St. Martin’s will be July 29th. Fr. Brian Christopher will be acting-pastor until a permanent replacement is named, likely by next summer.
I must humbly report that a couple of gifts will allow us to fix up the soccer field of St. Martin’s with fencing, drainage, seating, and seeding.
Why must his be reported with humility? Because it is to be called RUHL FIELD. (Thank you to those anonymous benefactors who have made this possible.)
Eighteen boys graduating from St. Martin’s this year will be attending the Jesuit St. John’s High School next year. This will make 29 Martin’s boys at SJC after the second year of our program wherein St. John’s receives all our qualified boys on scholarship. I cannot convey the impact this will have on our school and on our neighborhood. Few things make me as happy as seeing our Martin’s boys enrolled at St. John’s. God bless St. John’s and President Alice Peralta!
Project HEAL has just been awarded a three-year grant from the O’Shea Family Foundation for READERS FOR TOMORROW LITERACY IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVE and the ongoing HEAL counseling and emotional intelligence efforts. (Let me explain something here. We just had to expel an 11-year-old for viciously disruptive behavior. Two of his older brothers have already been shot. This generous grant helps us deal with children enduring this kind of debilitating trauma. I would like to personally thank the O’Sheas for this very generous and much needed grant. Thank you.)