Our 2017 Collaborative Lenten Gift

Our St. John-St. Paul collaborative is blessed with two vibrant parishes, each with strong traditions of Christian service. One such tradition, the St. John Parish Lenten Gift, involved reaching out as a community to one particular place of suffering, amid so many in this world.

Now we begin a new tradition – a Collaborative Lenten Gift – as we reach out together to The Bakhita House, a safe haven in the Boston area for women who are victims of human trafficking. Our gift will allow each of us in the St. John-St. Paul community to share in easing the suffering and to answer Lent’s clarion call to love extravagantly. Throughout Lent, in the bulletin and on the websites, we will share this story with you, as we prepare for our collaborative-wide special collection April 1-2.


The most recent chapter appears first; scroll down for older entries.

Our Collaborative Lenten Gift Special Collection – April 1-2

This is the weekend to share in the extraordinary ministry of Bakhita House through our Lenten Gift! Once again, this is our opportunity, as individuals and as a community, to respond to the need before us and help ease the suffering of human trafficking. Over the years, we have tried to direct our Lenten Gift to an immediate, urgent situation, and this is what exists now at Bakhita House. At Masses this Weekend: Donations can be made during the special second collection at all Masses at St. John and St. Paul this weekend. Please make checks payable to your parish ...
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Week 4 – How Can We Help?

Over the past three weeks, we have begun to learn about the tragedy of human trafficking and the healing work of The Bakhita House.  If you have found yourself thinking “I had no idea” while reading these stories over the past few weeks, you are not alone. There is very little awareness among most people in this country that human trafficking even exists, let alone in the United States; when it is recognized, it is usually thought of as something that happens in other places, to other people who are very different from us.  It is startling to learn that ...
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Week Three – Voices from Bakhita House

This week we have 'witness statements'; the first one is from a parishioner who is a physician who works at Massachusetts General Hospital, and volunteers at the MGH/Freedom Clinic one day/week. The MGH Freedom Clinic was launched in April, 2015 to care for victims and survivors of human trafficking in the Boston area. The Clinic offers free primary and preventative care for victims and survivors of human trafficking ages 13 years and older. "I have been privileged to meet the residents of Bakhita house as patients. Through my work as a primary care physician at the MGH Freedom clinic I ...
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Week Two – What Is The Bakhita House?

In 2001, when 800 leaders of congregations of Catholic sisters from 77 different countries gathered in Rome, the Sisters from Asia and Africa raised awareness about the phenomenon of human trafficking and the suffering of its victims. In 2007, the Boston unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) established an Anti-Trafficking Coalition. A year later, Boston (LCWR) established a task force and met with law enforcement and social agency personnel to learn how to help trafficked women. The Sisters learned that the greatest need for these women was a safe house. In October, 2011 Bakhita House (BH) opened ...
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Week One – What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking, the modern day practice of slavery, can be described most simply as "activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service". The term trafficking in persons can be misleading because the emphasis is on the transaction aspect, but the crime is enslavement and exploitation of people, day after day for months or even years. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control other people for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex or forcing them to provide labor services against their will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience – the loss of freedom ...
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