Celebrating Father Wasson Day
Once every year, all of NPH unites in celebration of our founder’s legacy. Read about how Father Wasson Day helps us to reconnect to our history and our values.
October 15, 2018 - Honduras
The past several weeks at NPH Honduras have been a whirlwind: Starting with the NPH Olympic games in August to the Independence Day parade in September, everyone has been working hard to prepare for and celebrate these important events. With quinceañeras and Christmas festivities right around the corner, the excitement and busyness are bound to come back around soon, but in the meantime, let’s take some time to reflect on the man who made it all possible: Father Wasson.
Although August 16th isn’t known for the competition, rhythmic dancing, or extravagant costumes associated with some of our other events, it’s one of NPH’s most important days. During this time, all of NPH’s homes and fundraising offices come together in spirit to commemorate the life and work of Father Wasson.
We post pictures of him, sing songs about him, and even invite him to make special guest appearances in our plays. But in addition to these fun activities, we take the time to understand the essence of his work and reflect on its implications on our lives. Because of him we’ve built the connections that form the diverse and growing family that we call NPH today.
NPH’s founding story, though known by nearly all of us, is a story that beckons retelling, because it inspires us to do our best and persevere through various struggles to improve the well-being of our communities. While reinforcing the information that we already know, Father Wasson Day gives us the opportunity to know him on a more personal level.
It’s the retelling of his life through people who knew and loved him that bring the history to life. Their details of him having a firm handshake or having a great sense of humor make his story relatable. For someone who founded and led a large international organization, he was quite down-to-earth:
“He was always a good time...one of my favorite memories of him was when he would join the children and employees on trips to the pool. Out of everyone there he was always the happiest because the joy of others accumulated in him,” says NPH International Board President Reinhart Koehler.
NPH Honduras National Director Stefan Feuerstein recounts, “when I was applying to volunteer at the NPH Germany office, they told me ‘aren’t you lucky, the founder is here!’ and offered me the chance to meet him.” Intimidated and uncertain of how the meeting would go, Feuerstein shook Father Wasson’s "big hands," and was immediately taken by surprise when he asked him if he played instruments. Father later replied “good, the children like music.” To Feuerstein, this demonstrated Wasson’s focus on the children despite his many responsibilities, which motivated him to join NPH Honduras. "That moment gave me a true sense of family."
It’s just as important for those who knew Father Wasson to remember him as it is for this upcoming generation of children, volunteers, and employees to learn about him for the first time. Although only celebrated ‘officially’ once a year, Father Wasson and his values should be things that we’re constantly reminded of. Doing good work isn’t easy, that’s why we need time to reflect on why we do it.
The story of NPH reconnects us to the reason why we’re all here; a love of humanity. Despite our differences and past experiences, we’re here to put in our best efforts, no matter how small their effects may be, to make the world a more loving place. As long as we keep him in our memories and keep teaching and practicing his values, his legacy will live on.
As Father Wasson used to say, “It’s surprising what you can do in a lifetime if you do it just a little at a time.”