St. John Bosco used to tell the boys, "Do good while you have time." During this time of Advent, our young Ironmen and their families took these words to heart. Thanks to the generosity of their families, our DBP students donated new toys to the 160 students (Pre-K thru 8th grade) of Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy (OLGA) in Elizabeth, NJ. These toys were nicely prepared in gift bags with candies by the DBP Mothers' Guild.
This morning, our Bosco Santa helpers and musicians loaded up toys and musical instruments and headed to Elizabeth to throw the Annual Christmas Party for the children of OLGA. On the bus, we practiced singing Christmas carols. After arriving, our Ironmen put their leadership and organizational skills to work by unloading the toy bags neatly and systematically on to the stage of the social hall. When set up was complete and the Bosco band was ready to play, the children of OLGA came down from their classes. Santa came out with his not-so little DBP helpers to greet the children and play with them.
We split the children into two groups, one led by me (Fr. Paul) and the other by Ms. Rando. We all had a good time playing "Santa says" and duck-duck-goose while the Bosco band, conducted by Mr. Cecere, played a medley of Christmas tunes that kept our game of musical chairs going. Mr. Cooper lead a group of Bosco boys to play sports with the children at the school's youth center and gym. "I felt like I was a kid at a camp again," reflected Mr. Cooper. When everyone returned to the social hall, we served pizza to the children and sang Christmas carols. Everyone in the room sang their heart out. Baby Jesus would be very impressed by the energetic voices of these little OLGA angels. Then to cap off the morning, all the children came up one by one to meet Santa and receive a special gift. Many teachers expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Bosco family for their generosity to the children of OLGA and for the beautiful service of our boys. One veteran teacher said, "The children all say that today is the best day of the year." The principal of OLGA was with us throughout the morning and graciously thanked us for this deeply joyful and moving event. On the bus ride back to Bosco, our young men read the beautiful thank-you cards made by the children of OLGA. As we neared DBP, I gave a good afternoon talk on Don Bosco's father wisdom: "Do good while you have time."
Thank you to all the Bosco parents who made this Toy Drive and Christmas Party a success by your generosity and encouragement of your sons. This is a beautiful tradition that all of us at DBP and OLGA look forward to every year. On behalf of the Youth Ministry Office, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!