Thomas Byrne

(USA) - English Teacher and Woodshop Volunteer
August 27, 2008 - El Salvador

Living and working for ten weeks as a volunteer at NPH El Salvador has taught me many important lessons, and it certainly proved the NPH motto to be true: “Love without limits.” With 500 orphans in one place, everyone becomes a parent. While my official duties included teaching English classes, working in the woodshop, and visiting the children in the clinic, I found that perhaps the most important thing that I did everyday was to simply be present to the children – to listen to them, to give them some advice, to hug them – or simply – to love them.

As a seminarian preparing for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Chicago this experience has been especially important. Living and working with the pequeños has greatly helped me improve my Spanish which will help me as I seek to minister in the multi-cultural reality that is Chicago. More important, though, this experience has taught me how to love God's little ones, and it has shown me why Jesus says that “it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs (Mark 10:14).” Little children simply want to be loved and to love you in return. It is for this reason of their pure simplicity that they are the examples for those of us who are older. The Kingdom of God will only be realized when love truly reigns on the earth, and the children will be the first ones to enter into it.

Thomas Byrne




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