Yesterday we had Fr Peter Walters here, who I met, and was impressed by, at a meeting of the Conference of Catholic Clergy. He came here to make an appeal for the street children he works with in Medellin, Colombia. What he was doing was imaginative and rather inspiring. Fr Peter worked in Walsingham and has a great devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham, the house he established in Medillin is called Casa Walsingham, which is so wonderfully English, it reflects his Anglo-Catholic origins 'the smell of carbolic soap and incense', Catholic spirituality and reaching out to the needy, caring for body and soul. For him welcome and hospitality are part of the Walsingham spirituality, "I can't imagine Jesus, even as child, not going out into the streets and taking home to his mother anyone who was in need, and I can't imagine his mother not being absolutely delighted to have them come", he said.
Chapel of Casa Walsingham
He spoke about the children being the victims of Columbian drug gangs and the problem starting in the drug culture of the cities of the world like Brighton. Privately he spoke the violence and gang culture, of "hit men" going to shrines before killing people and coming back to give thanks afterwards, of children who aspire to become "hit men", of child prostitution and abuse, of child rubbish pickers, of violence and child killers and of corruption and apathy.
He spoke of the chronic need for money, of the possibilities that just a few thousand pounds or dollars could open up for the 500 plus children he cares for directly, of the children he wants to help, of starting a school, of having somewhere safe outside the city, but all that needs money and more staff - he brought with him Jairo who is a child psychologist whose English Father jokingly said extended to 'gift aid' and 'banker's order'. Even in Columbia any organisation which cares for children with such problems needs trained, expert and loving staff. Fr Peter wants the best for his children.
Fr Peter spends his time between working with the children and visiting parishes like mine to raise funds. If you are Parish Priest either in the UK or USA why not invite Fr Peter? If you are a lay person please consider donating by visiting to Let the Children Live.
The choir at Casa Walsingham's Christmas service