As I travel through this busy world with its many ups and downs, like many others I get so caught up in things of the world that I sometimes forget to take time out for myself. Sometimes our merciful and loving God takes the everyday stresses of life out of our hands and puts people in our path to show us a better way of handling the difficulties of work, school or even home life. On this particular Friday morning while I was rushing to get to work on time God sent an angel to remind me just to slow down for a couple of moments and remember how things used to be growing up in our public housing development on Roundview Road in Cherry Hill.
Singer Aretha Franklin sang a song entitled “Respect.” For those old enough to remember the song you will also remember that title was spelled out instead of pronounced respect. One of the things that I find most disturbing in today’s society is the lack of respect that we often show towards one another and the lack of respect some of our young people have for themselves and their elders.
I sometimes wonder if we were negligent in teaching our children the meaning of respect for self and others. Proverbs 22:6 teaches us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Ask yourself the hard question “did I do all I could as a parent to influence my child’s life?” Another question: “How can the community help in the raising up of our children?”
One such action of community response is underway as the Office and Board of African American Catholic Ministries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore went about securing scholarships for Catholic education. As a member of the board the past couple of years, I have been given the opportunity to witness a commitment to our youth by each of the board members. One of the activities that the board is involved in is the Daniel Rudd Scholarship Fund, administered by the Office and Board of African American Catholic Ministries.
The scholarship, named for the founder of the National Black Catholic Congress, is open to low-income Catholic students currently residing in the Baltimore metropolitan area and enrolled in a Catholic elementary or high school within the archdiocese. Scholarship funds are generated through a raffle. The drawing for the raffle is conducted on the feast of St. Benedict the Monk, patron saint of school children.
Our 2012 Daniel Rudd Raffle winner was Gloria Herndon, a parishioner at New All Saints Parish on Liberty Heights Avenue, and a faithful former member of the Archdiocesan Board of African American Ministries.
Now we move forward in this blessed adventure by reviewing applicants so that three young people will be awarded scholarships on the feast day (Aug. 27) of St. Monica, the Mother of St. Augustine of Hippo and one of the “Fathers of the Church.” As scholars are identified and awarded, it becomes proof positive that the collective wisdom and energy of a people makes things happen. Young ones will walk into their future, with a Catholic education and all of the benefits of knowing Jesus while building values and knowledge. Efforts such as this one are in step with the National Black Catholic Congress movement and the goals set forth through its founder, Daniel A. Rudd, in 1889.
Galvanizing together in prayer, sharing resources and implementing a vision that improves the quality of life of God’s people is what people of faith should be about. As we remember the past, look forward to the future, yet live in the present, let us take direction from Jesus’ message, which says… “Did you not know, that I (we) must be about my (our) Father’s business.” (Luke 2:49)
Rodney D. Camphor is a member of the Board of African American Catholic Ministries and parishioner of St. Ambrose, Park Heights
Copyright (c) Aug. 23, 2012 CatholicReview.org