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May 1, 2016

Tuesday will mark the second anniversary of Father Richard B. Martin’s return to God. To celebrate Nativity Parish held a weekend to honor Father Martin, who was our beloved Pastor for over 17 years.  He was the source of inspiration to many and believed in service to those in need wherever they may be.  one of the many ways he did this was through “Operation Starfish”, a wonderful program that he founded in 1998 to help people in Haiti rise up from poverty and disasters.

Father Bob Cilinski was the homilist at every Mass and presented the video, which can be viewed below, which showed the video from the dedication of Good Shepherd Village in Haiti.  Delane Bailey from Food For The Poor, one of our Operation Starfish partners, sang the second communion hymn and spoke at every Mass. Other Food For The Poor representatives were also on hand.

Parishioners who have been to Haiti with Operation Starfish hosted a coffee and doughnut reception and staffed informational tables after the Sunday Masses in the Father Richard B. Martin Parish Center.

In addition, a second collection was held to continue Father Martin’s legacy in Haiti. Thank you for your continued generosity. The proceeds will be used to complete work at Good Shepherd Village.

This coming July, Alison Fram, our college coordinator, will lead a mission trip to Haiti for young adults. They will dedicate the new medical clinic, one of the last components of the village.

Food For The Poor just released a new animated Operation Starfish video, especially for children.

ABOUT OPERATION STARFISH®

Operation Starfish® began at Church of the Nativity in Burke, Virginia in 1998. It was the idea of Nativity’s pastor, Fr. Richard B. Martin, who asked each family in the parish to try to save 50 cents a day during the 40 days of Lent to make a difference in the lives of the poor.Pete By Easter that first year, a simple wicker basket held enough gifts to build 27 homes in Haiti. The international Christian Charity, Food For The Poor, built the homes and invited Fr. Martin and 12 parishioners to visit Haiti and meet the new homeowners.

From that first project, Nativity and Food For The Poor went on to build 10 “Nativity Villages,” with more than 1,300 homes in Haiti. Today Fr. Martin’s legacy includes schools, clinics, sewing and fishing co-ops, vocational and small business training, scholarships, and a variety of aid and development work in Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Food For The Poor has spread the Operation Starfish® idea to more than 300 churches and schools across the country. At Church of the Nativity, the same wicker basket sits in the vestibule during Lent, ready to bring hope to the poor, one family at a time.