Year Joined MKLM: 2018
Focus: Peace and Justice, Education
project: HOPE (Helping Orphans Pursue Education) Project
people served: 140 orphans and families infected or affected by HIV/AIDS
To provide orphans with access to an education, the prospect of a career, self-reliance, and the opportunity to succeed in life; to help provide a healthy and safe environment for the orphan to learn, grow and mature; to rescue or prevent orphans from living on the streets where they are vulnerable to exploitation, radicalization, gangs, drugs and disease; and to reintegrate these children into society as valuable, contributing members.
Rich is the Administrator for the H.O.P.E Project (HOPE), which serves orphans infected or affected by AIDS in the form of school fees, tuitions, and exams; uniforms, books and other supplies; transportation, meals and in special cases, boarding and medical; weekly tutorial sessions; proactive monitoring of each child’s progress in school and at home; as well as counselling when needed. The HOPE also runs a number of events for the orphans and their families to assist with family and social issues as well as provide spiritual enrichment. As Administrator, Rich is responsible for managing the operation and finances of the project, donor relations and funding, maintaining project data, coordinating with the HOPE Board of Advisors, project reporting, and community relations.
Prior to becoming a Maryknoll lay missioner, Rich worked as a technical sales software engineer at IBM, where he was employed for 33 years – his entire professional career. As a technical sales professional, Rich worked with clients on the application of information technology to address business needs and improve insight into the operation of the business. Rich has a B.S. degree in Physics and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering.
Rich was active in both in his parish and community. In his parish, he was a long-time catechist and religious education teacher for both First Communion and Confirmation preparation. He served in parish ministries such as lector at Mass, visiting the homebound, participated in bible studies and other parish activities. In the community, Rich cooked and coordinated volunteers every Saturday at a meal center in Lawrence, the poorest city in New England. Hot meals are served to hundreds of people daily in a restaurant style sit-down environment. Rich also did three domestic mission trips to work in St. Joseph’s, a homeless shelter in Oregon.
Rich says, “My approach to my ministry work and my life as a missioner is to strive to do everything, even the simple things of everyday life, with love. I’m not trying to save the world, but rather have others experience Christ in me through the way I live and share my life with them. I am inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux, who said ‘Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them.’ “