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Russians Welcomed
by Luba Johnson

It was early spring when Megan Doherty, a 15-year-old student, visited St.Lukes with a mission. She came one Sunday with a prepared statement explaining her efforts and work with the Catholic Charities in sponsoring children from Russia. The children from Russia are in need of medical attention due to illnesses related to the affects of radiation caused by the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl Her mission was to get help and support from as many people and parishes as she could possibly get. Her set goal was to bring at least 20 children to America from Russia. For every one child she would need to raise at least $2000. A hosting family for each child would also be needed.

In listening to Megan you could see her desire and her perseverance in this cause. Megan through the year visited many parishes and raised over $40,000 to cover traveling expenses for the children. She made such an impact on many people, that the Southtown Economist wrote an article on Megan and her mission to help the victims of Chernobyl.

After Megan's visit to St. Luke in April, thanks to the generosity of our parishioners, the Charity Fund raised over $2000. St. Luke was able to sponsor the expense of one child. Parishioners were generous with donating time, clothing, gifts and most of all prayers for these ill children. On July 18th a reception was held in honor of the Russian children and adults. Nineteen children and four adults from Russia plus their hosting families came and celebrated the Divine Liturgy with us. Prayers were said for their health and safe being. After Liturgy Father Andrew presented our guest with a gift bag. These gift bags were filled with stationary, school supplies, a St. Luke T-shirt and an icon. Previously Father Andrew presented them copies of Our Faith printed in Russian. Thanks to our Russian translators, Anna Vilchis and Svetlana Lynch, Father Andrew's welcome and comments were related to our guest. A reception was prepared by Elizabeth Wassilkowsky, which followed after church services. Thank you Greg Wassilkowsky for barbecuing hotdogs and hamburgers. (They were a big hit with our guests.)

In speaking with our guest, as one would suspect, they all loved being in America. Taking a survey of their favorite things, I got answers relating to liking hamburgers to the exciting ride on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. They were extremely grateful to all the kind people they have met. They also considered themselves very lucky to be able to come to the United State for medical treatment. The hosting families were also very appreciative of our warm and generous hospitality toward everyone.

Once again the parishioners of St. Lukes have shown great compassion for those in need of our help and support. Thank you for your generosity and prayers for these sick children and their chaperons. We pray that God keep all of us in his healing hands. God bless Megan Doherty for all her charitable efforts and work.

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