He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms,
he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my
name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one
who sent me."
~ Mark 9:36-37 ~
Two thousand years ago, in the lands of the eastern Mediterranean, children had no rights. They were considered the least of the least. Today in our country we profess differently, although in every family there are times that it seems this is forgotten. We are fortunate that this is usually only a temporary lapse. When it isn’t, we have means in our state, our town, our parish to intervene, if and when we accept the responsibility. In Latin America, where resources are strained, it has been estimated that over 12 million children have been left orphaned, abandoned, or neglected in the streets. While the problem seems overwhelming, it can be, and must be, handled one child at a time. Some fifty years ago, one man began a journey by not turning away from one child. Today, that journey continues as Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters.”
A LITTLE NPH HISTORY
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) can trace its beginning to August 1954, when a boy living in the streets of a Mexican town was put in jail for stealing from the collection box of a Catholic church. Upon discovering the young boy’s plight, the pastor of the parish, Fr. William Wasson, asked the judge if he could care for the boy. The judge granted him legal guardianship of the child, as well as eight others. By the year’s end Fr. Wasson had 32 boys in his care, and NPH was born. Since that time, Fr. Wasson, with the help of many volunteers and benefactors, has adopted over 15,000 orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. The organization El Salvador Dominican Republic Guatemala Haiti Honduras Mexico Nicaragua, and Peru. NPH also helps operate a hospital in Haiti that cares for the many abandoned children of the poorest country in our hemisphere, many of whom are suffering from AIDS. In the United States, NPH is supported by a fundraising organization called NPH USA (www.nphusa.org).
At NPH, children are loved and accepted unconditionally. They are not available for adoption—instead, biological brothers and sisters are welcomed into the larger NPH family, to be raised and educated. All NPH children are nurtured and given hope and are taught the values of sharing and responsibility.
IHM has a long history of support to NPH Honduras, the second orphanage established by Fr. Wasson in 1986. The Honduran orphanage, Rancho Santa Fe, is located outside the capitol of Tegucigalpa. Today, 5346 children call Rancho Santa Fe home.