Come and Follow

A Personal History by Fr. David Farrugia, OP

“Many people have already related the events that have taken place among us………yet after I myself had gone carefully over the whole story….it seemed good to me to write an orderly account…..” (Lk. 1).

I have been asked quite a few times to write something about myself, like a very, very short biography. I never wanted to do it unless I give it a spiritual flavor, seeing the hand of God at work in our
human history.  A life vested with the human condition, but enhanced by the Divine .

I was born in Malta, one of the three Maltese islands situated in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. The small tMaltese crossown where I was born is called Vittoriosa situated over the Grand harbor, a harbor of natural beauty.  Vittoriosa, formerly called Birgu, is where the Great Siege of 1565 took place. It was here that the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Knights of Malta and the Maltese.

The islands have a history that goes back to 3,000 B.C . Malta was occupied by many  great powers,  the last one was Britain .  The British were actually called by the Maltese to drive out Napoleon and the French power, and here the  Maltese islands became “protectorate” of the Empire for 120 yrs. and then in 1964  gained independence within the Commonwealth.

Malta, during world war II, was the most heavily bombed area in the world, owing to the presence of the British Fleet in the Grand Harbour.  Malta was a strategic place in the Mediterranean Sea.  German forces stationed in Sicily and North Africa were determined to put the Allied Forces out of action. There were days when an air raid went for hours. Germany needed Malta badly, so that it could control the Med. Sea. The people in the harbor area were told to evacuate. Many of the town people including my family took shelter in a Dominican Priory, hoping it is safer. Again we were forced to leave. That same week the Priory was leveled to the ground. Luckily nobody was there. A miracle, for there was over 300 people before it collapsed. Our house was destroyed; again we were lucky, for we were in another part of the island.  We took shelter underground, where we spent most nights, sleeping on straw mattresses. Food was rationed, lot of buildings was destroyed and many people lost their lives.  You could hear prayers echoing in the shelters. The Rosary was said almost all day long. Not enough food, but lots of prayers!

The village we moved to is called Mosta. Here, is the famous rotunda; the plans were based on the Pantheon, in Rome. It is the third largest unsupported dome in the world. This shrine is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. The priests at this parish were totally dedicated to the people of God. They were holy and friendly priests. Later, when I was a high school   student, I worked as a part time
custodian and also became an altar server. I can say that my vocation to the priesthood germinated in this wonderful church and environment.  I together with others took shelter in the basement of the church many a night. The basement was a burial ground, so there were times when you had to make room so that someone can be buried. As soon as the burial finished, you throw a blanket over the fresh
closed grave and napped. On April 9, 1942 in the afternoon, while many people including my family were taking shelter, the news spread quickly,’ the Rotunda was hit.  A large German bomb went through the dome,  a four feet of lime stone, rolled over the floor of the church and came to a stop right at the sanctuary stairs. It did not explode, and the 300 people in the church, during an Adoration service, were safe and no one was injured. The same type of bomb is now on display, its 4 ft. high and 2 feet in diameter. Every year on the 9th of April a Mass of thanksgiving is celebrated.

Fuel and food for the Allied forces and for the natives was in dire need.  Nothing could go out or come in. There was a time when surrender was not an option. Great Britain, on the advice of Winston Churchill tried the last resort. A convoy of 14 merchant ships was sent to Malta. The convoy was covered by aircraft carriers, battleships and the air force. This was on the 10th of August, 1942.
Prayers were ordered in all churches for Malta and England.  Only three ships made it to the Grand Harbor and two others, badly damaged, remained afloat and arrived later. This happened on the 15 of August, feast of the Assumption of Mary. This event is known by the Maltese as the ‘Convoy of Santa Maria ‘. Now at least the forces had some of the much needed fuel and food.

Once, while taking shelter beneath the stairwell, a bomb fell right in the middle of the square, a huge boulder goes up in the air and came down on our skylight while we were home, and landed just in front of us. My mother, my brother and I rushed out to go to the shelter.  It’s the first time that I saw the victims of war. Six people died in the square, one woman was beheaded by shrapnel.  Again it was a miracle that we were not even hurt. The enemy started losing power and peace came to the Islands, and finally the surrender of the enemy. The Maltese still have great devotion toward Mary and hope in the Almighty. They still believe in these two great miracles.Fr David Image for Blog

The war over, life returned to normal. I finished elementary school, went to a Dominican college, named after St. Albert the Great and then started my novitiate and my studies for the priesthood at St. Thomas Aquinas, school of philosophy and theology.  After I finished my studies I was ordained a priest in 1960 at John’s Co-Cathedral, the Conventual church of the Knights of Malta, built in 1500. (BY the way, the Dominicans arrived in Malta in 1492). After ministering for a year and a half, I was sent to minister in the USA. Here I served as campus minister at U.C. Riverside for nine years, ministered in Los Angeles, Reno, at ST. Thomas Cathedral, chaplain to the Christian Brothers in Napa, St. Dominic San Francisco, associate novice master in Kentfield, pastor at Our Lady of the Mountain, Ashland, OR, Pastor at ST. Dominic, Benicia and pastor at St. Mary Magdalene, Berkeley and finally after 50 yrs. of priesthood, back to Benicia in semi-retirement.

There, you have a very, very short biography of my somewhat interesting life. Here, I would like to sum up by quoting St. John Paul II, “I cannot end these reflections as a priest, without expressing to the Lord of the harvest my deepest gratitude for the gift of a vocation, for the grace of priesthood”. “God, you are great and glorious; we marvel at your power’.

God bless you and yours. 

Fr. David , O.P

Feast Of The Exaltation Of The Cross. ( 14th September)

Two great events took place in the year 300. The finding of the cross
of Jesus by the empress ST.Helena, and the building and dedication of
the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, by her son Constantine
the Great, who gave freedom of religion. These events are celebrated
under the title, ‘The Exaltation or the Triumph of the Cross’.
The cross of Jesus, reversed the act of pride and disobedience of our
first parents, Adam and Eve.  This tree of the Cross gives life; it is Maltese cross
a tree of hope and victory.
This cross awaited  Jesus in the City of  Jerusalem. Jesus embraced it
and finally died on it. Here, the love of God was laid bare for all to
see. Jesus, the full and complete revelation of God, cried out, ” It
is finished”. Here, on mount Calvary, victory was achieved through the
wood of the cross of Jesus.

It is for this reason that on Good Friday we venerate the Cross, not
the crucifix . The crucified  Jesus with its memory of the bloody body
and crown of thorns, has been transformed  into the Cross, the sign of
Christ’s victory over sin and death. The early Church emphasized the

crucifix less and the resurrection more.
 The cross was called  ‘ Crux  gemmata , the jeweled  Cross’.  The
wooden cross was adorned with flowers and jewels. The corpus hanging
on the cross came much later. In the liturgy we declare that ChristFr David Image for Blog
has died, but immediately  we say, ‘ Christ is risen’.
ST. Paul, writing to the Corinthians says, “We preach Christ
crucified–a stumbling block to the Jews, and an absurdity to the
gentiles; but to those who are called, Jews and Gentiles alike, Christ
the power of God and the wisdom of God” and again.”We glory in the
Cross of our Savior, Jesus Christ”.
Prayer:God our Father,
in obedience to you your only Son accepted death on a cross for the salvation of mankind.
We acknowledge the mystery of the cross on earth.
May we receive the gift of redemption in heaven. 
                                              God bless you and yours.
                                                 FR. David, O.P.

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom from the Saints

“What I am for you terrifies me; what I am with you consoles me. For I am a bishop, but with you I am a Christian. The first is an office accepted, the second a grace received. The first is a danger; the second, salvation, if, then I am gladder by far to be redeemed with you than I am to be
pleased over you , I shall, as the Lord himself commanded, be more completely your servant.  (ST. Augustine).

“The full measure of a man is to be found, not in his good works or
in his great achievements, but rather in the new colors and textures
that come alive in other peoples because of him.”  (Cardinal Manning).

“Charity is the queen of all virtues. It is necessary for charity to
be a special virtue, distinct from the other virtues, but yet the most
important virtue and the mover of the other virtues.”  (Thomas

“My soul, narrowed between self and God, yearning for the salvation
of all, the reform of the Church and the good of the whole world, can
see no other remedy pleasing to God than peace. Peace therefore for
the love of Christ crucified”. (ST. Catherine of Siena).

“It is easy to love the people far away; it is not easy to love those
close to us. It is easy to give a cup of rise to relieve hunger than
to relieve loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our home.  Bring
love into your home for this is where our love for each other must
start”.( Mother Teresa).

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in
realizing that.  This enables us to do something and do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may
never see the end results, but that is the difference between the
master builder and the worker. WE are all workers, not master
builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets and prophetesses of
a future that is not ours”. ( Archbishop Oscar Romero, San Salvador).


God bless. David, O.P.

Where is Fr. Vic Now?

Fr. David’s Homily to the St. Dominic School Children

Where is Fr. Vic now?

April 29th, 2016FrVic

Fr. Vic loved all of you. He still loves you, and he is with us in spirit. He always carried candy in his pockets, and some little kids
also knew where he kept the candy in his office. Some little children,
visiting the parish office with their parents, went straight to his
office, even if he was not there. They knew where to look.

Where is Fr. Vic now ? One child shouted…In heaven. That’s right.
Jesus promised to prepare a place for us, a place in heaven.
You know someone who died and they are not with us anymore.  We are
not to be here in this world forever. God made us to serve Him in this
life and then to go and be with him forever in heaven. It’s difficult
for little children to understand the meaning of death.
A friend of mine, once said, and I even remember reading it some place, that the
easiest way to explain death to children is to tell them this short
story, which I will apply to Fr. Vic’s death.

As you know, Fr. Vic and I liked to walk around the block. I miss him
a lot. Sometimes when I walk, I feel his presence.  Fr. Vic loved
Jesus, he loved to be in His presence. He loved , we can say, to walk
with Jesus. Once they walked together, they walked and they walked
till dark. Finally, Jesus turned to Fr. Vic and said,” You know we
walked a long time and it’s practically night, instead  of going  to
your home, which is far away now, why don’t you come to mine.” Fr. Vic
looked at Jesus and said,” Ok, I’d like that.”
So, Fr.Vic went into Jesus’s home and stayed there. He is in God’s kingdom now.
Fr. Vic, ‘ May the angels lead  into paradise, may all the saints come
to welcome you and take you to the new eternal Jerusalem. Eternal rest
give to him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest
in peace. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.’  Amen

Br. Gregory Travel Journal from Taiwan

Parishioner writes to local paper in Hawaii


 A St. Dominic Parishioner wrote to a Hawaiian newspaper in response to an article and it was printed. She would like to share this with our community as well.
Ilona Helmholz’s message to the paper….

Oh, did my heart rejoice (!!) when I read this headline in the Kauai papers last Easter.  I have since then been reading with great interest, the letters to the Editor with pros and cons regarding the Prayer gathering at which were many different denominations.   There are no fences in Heaven – Praise God we are worshiping together.

Since childhood I have had a deep and personal relationship with the Lord as my Heavenly Father and He has been present in my life ever since.   It was and is a living experience and He has not made a mistake with my life.   When the answer was “No” it turned out to be correct.  As a result I would also like to express my thoughts.

Our God is a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine and gave His life so that we could have life eternal.  This life on earth is fleeting and Psalms tells us “Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Ps 90).   “If you are young look forward to God’s fidelity to you throughout your life, if you are older, look back on God’s fidelity to you through what is past.  Whatever your age, know that God’s love is the foundation upon which all our hope stands firm.  His guarantee is the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a deed deep, high and unsearchable that exceeds all our praises.”  (Ps 71)

I rejoice that the people of Kauai are expressing and sharing their faith – I encourage you to earnestly continue.  It is the Lord’s desire that all come to Him and I pray daily that all will come to know Him and spend eternity with Him – the other option is not an option.   

Keep on being faithful to the One Who is faithful. 

Fr. Michael’s Funeral Homily for Fr. Victor Cavalli, O.P.

Fr Vic Funeral Homily by Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.

St. Dominic’s Benicia

A few years ago, I was surprised by Fr Vic when he asked me to preach at his funeral. I told him that I might not be the best choice, since he had been a Dominican priest for almost 70 years and I had only lived with him for 3. I said “What would I preach about?” He responded, “I don’t know, I won’t be there, that’s your job!” He continued: “Whatever you preach about keep it short.” And so when I recently visited with him at Fr. Paul Scanlon’s Vigil, he reminded of the eventuality of this moment: “You’re preaching my Mass” he said. I said “I know, I know, keep it short.” And he again surprised me by saying “Well you don’t have to keep it that short. There are a lot of things you might say.” It was the moment I was waiting for. “Ok, I’m going to ask 3 questions and everyone is going hear your answer. It’ll be like your final preaching.” Agreed.

First question: “What inspired you to be a Dominican?” His response was typically practical. He knew the OP Sisters from boarding school in Ukiah and knew Fr. William Norton, aka “Blacktop Bill” because he always put in a parking lot at wherever parish he was. He saw all the good that the Dominicans did and thought “I want to do good for others too.” It was either that or the FBI, because he had family in law enforcement and the small Swizz village that he grew up in was the seedbed for the Papal Swizz guard. In the end, the priesthood made sense, because, as he said with a twinkle in his eye, “it was my best chance in keeping on the straight and narrow. I became a Dominican priest because I would have a chance to do good, and have a good chance at heaven.”  

Of course, we have our reasons for what we do, yet we know that for Fr Vic (and for us all), God is the ultimate source of our inspiration. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you to go and bear fruit.” Just as Jesus called those first apostles, who were not well versed in the Torah or particular educated and he gave them the gifts to preach and teach and heal, so too, God chose Fr Vic and gave him the gifts he needed to lead. We all have a responsibility to lead in various ways, but Fr. Vic had the gift of leadership. He was pastor and/or prior for almost all of our Priory Parishes, including Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and Benicia. For so many he was not just a priest but a pastor, a real shepherd. As one the Dominican graviori said “When Fr. Vic was in his heyday, if he thought it would have been good for our Province to get into basket weaving, well…we’d be weaving baskets right now!”

In the Gospel, Christ identifies himself as a Good Shepherd who guards and guides the flock. This image hearkens back to famous and familiar Psalm 23 where the Lord acts as a shepherd for the people of his flock. The Good Shepherd leads with rod and staff: rod to protect sheep from predators and nudge them away from danger, and staff to lead them to green pastures for grazing. In the Gospel we see Christ guides: leading with care, tending to the wounded, searching out strays. But also guards: warning with the woes of the self-righteousness, challenging the indifferent or nudging his flock around the pitfalls of unbelief. Christ the Good Shepherd has twofold office: to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

For nearly the past 70 years of his life, Fr. Vic has joined Christ in this role of guarding and guiding.   When it came to guarding, Fr. Vic was old school. In these days when sentimentality is often substituted for spirituality, Fr. Vic was no nonsense when it came to preaching and living the faith. Keenly aware of the reality and power of original sin, the disciplines of the faith were alive and well in his life. It wasn’t just Fridays in Lent; every Friday was an occasion for clam chowder over his favorite chicken soup. On the occasions when he discerned that someone was taking advantage of another person, he’d let them know the woes of the Gospel. For those who might darken the door of church only on Christmas and Easter, he reminded them in a healthy and unvarnished way that none of us escape death and final judgement. The Good Shepherd guards and course corrects the flock.

Likewise, Fr. Vic embodied the guidance of the Good Shepherd. I think of the countless ways in which he brought Jesus Christ to life for so many. Who of us here was not guided closer to Christ because of Fr. Vic. Through him, Christ gave us new life through baptism, fed us in the Eucharist, forgave us in the confessional, anointed and cared for us in our illness whether physical or spiritual. When were lonely, it wasn’t Fr Vic who visited us, it was Christ. When we were in distress, it was Christ who comforted us through him. When fears and anxieties clouded our minds and hearts, Fr Vic brought the encouragement of Christ to our hearts. I’m sure each of us could share a story of how Fr. Vic guided you closer and made Christ present and real in your life.

Beyond guarding and guiding, Jesus says what set his pastoral office apart from others, is that he is willing to lay down his life for sheep. He is all in. So too with Fr. Vic priesthood was not just a ministry but who he was. He told me: “You never retire from being a priest. If you’re lucky you can retire from administration and paperwork, but never as a priest.” This gift of self, the giving of his life naturally inspired others. This is why an essential part of leadership is not simply doing, but enabling others to do good. I live in SF, and although Fr. Vic was pastor there 40 years ago, there are aspects of the parish that are still impacted by his leadership. When there was a need to reach out to the poor and homeless around the Church in SF, Fr Vic hired an OP Sr. Anne Bertain to lead a community service program. The Rose of Lima center is as active and vibrant as ever. In fact, when I announced that Fr. Vic died last week in SF, I had a woman who told me that 40 years ago, she had come to the children’s Mass and that it was so bad that she went up to him after Mass and told him that she was never coming back because she was trained in music and couldn’t abide their ineptitude. So Fr. Vic asked her if she would help to train the children and start a program and she’s been a parishioner ever since.

Fr. Vic’s leadership extended to the brothers. Fr. Vic spoke with great fondness for the time when some of the students were transferred from St. Albert’s to St. Dominic’s. He loved that they brought a fresh energy to the parish and started so many programs together. Fr. Felix Cassidy of happy memory loved to tell the story of how, early in his studies, he began to despair of learning Latin and passing the required classes. Seriously contemplating leaving when he asked Fr Vic who was finished and was about to be ordained for advice and guidance. “I’m from Switzerland and had to learn English, I failed out of elementary school, but I kept at it and passed the classes. If I can do it, you can too.” And the rest is history.  

Second question: What is your greatest joy in being an OP priest? With hesitation, he said “The children.” Certainly Fr. Vic is well known among the brothers for his time as teacher and principle of St. John Vianney/Daniel Murphy high school. Fr Vic took great pride in the education the school provided in his leadership. His students were the chief of police and fire, many lawyers and other successful in business. But more than that, he found joy in teaching the faith. It was a worst kept secret that Fr. Vic had a drawer with candy in his office for students. When they would come over, he would always be handing out little sweets. I would tease him about being too indulgent and he told me the story of how Fr. Blacktop Bill used to give him sweets/money/trinket every time he saw him. As a young boy, Fr. Norton embodied God. And so when he gave him sweets, it was like God giving him a gift. Fr Vic said “I give sweets so that children will learn and remember that God always wants to give us good things if they look for it.” And this kind of spiritual pedagogy was present all through his life. I remember during one of our daily walks before we were hearing the 1

st confessions of 2nd graders, I asked him how I might put them at ease. 1st

confessions can be fearful. He said “Teach them God’s love in a practice way.” He told me that the penance he would often give is to “Give your Mom and Dad a big hug and tell them how much you love them.” There is nothing better to see how a child begins to understand God’s own love through a love they know. When they experience God’s love, anything is possible.”


Third Question: What is your favorite Bible verse? Wasn’t sure of reference. Like a good Catholic, when it comes to the Bible we neighborhood really well, but not the specific addresses. Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose which endures.” In reflecting on this verse, he shared with me, how often in leadership the choice he was faced with weren’t easy or clear. He shared that there were dark moments of doubt and feelings of his unworthiness to be a priest. He was comforted by knowledge that he wasn’t in control of the results and outcomes. If he was simply faithful in his vocation and did the best he could, God’s purpose and plan would come to be, even despite his weaknesses and failings. In this regard, he always had recourse with the Blessed Virgin, with whom he had a special relationship. Early in the morning and into the evening, you would find him in prayer clutching his small hand rosary. Many times I discovered him in the church or in his room in front of the statue of our lady, seemly having a conversation with her. He would say “when I come face to face with God, I am hoping that Mary is there to hold out the rosary and pull me up into heaven. She’ll get me there.”

As we mourn for our loss, we pray in gratitude for life and legacy of Fr. Vic. We ask our Lord through the intercession of his mother that, he who lived his life as a faithful shepherd of the Good Shepherd, might be led to the rich pastures of his well-deserved heavenly reward.   Amen.
~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.

Rectory Project: How Will we Answer the Call?

 Parishioner Perspective on the Rectory Project

A new rectory? My thoughts…and a personal story.

When a new rectory is finally built, all the parish ministries and organizations will benefit from the addition of new space and the reconfiguration of office and meeting spaces in the ministry center and old rectory.   However, that is not the main reason I was particularly pleased to learn that a new rectory is in the planning stages. From my experience of teaching at the secondary school level for nearly forty years, and in particular, my experience of teaching for eight years at Catholic high schools conducted by the Brothers of Holy Cross, I have been wishing for a long time that our priests could have a private space of their own.

I started teaching at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks in the late 60’s when there were still many teaching Brothers in the classroom. The Brothers’ Residence was on the other side of the campus from the school buildings. At the end of their teaching day, and after supervising sports and activities in the afternoons and evenings, the Brothers could return to their private house, garden and chapel. Three years later I transferred to Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward. The school was quite new with beautiful up-to-date facilities. The main building was a large three story block with offices, classrooms and labs on the first two floors. The Brothers’ Residence, although nice, was located on the third floor overlooking the parking lot and playing fields. It was not a good situation. At that time, and at later years teaching in the public schools, I was always glad to be able to go home at the end of a long day and not have to climb a set of stairs and sleep over my classroom. Unfortunately, our Dominican Community is housed like the Holy Cross Brothers in Hayward. If you ever have business to do in the Rectory during the day, you see that there are endless comings and goings as well as the noise of the parking lot and playground.   Do you ever just like to stay home and rest on a day off? Our priests have to leave their home on their one day off during the week just to get some peace and quiet.

In the summer of 1980 I was checking out Benicia to see if it were a place I would like to live. I wanted to find what would be my parish church. When I walked into the church one quiet summer afternoon, I immediately thought, “I would love for this to be my spiritual home.” And over the last thirty five years, it has not disappointed. The credit is due to our wonderful parish community and staff. However, it has been a special blessing to be a part of a Dominican parish. When so many parishes across the country have only one priest or have to share a priest among parishes, we are blessed to have our own Pastor and Parochial Vicar. Many times, when a room has been available, we have enjoyed the presence and ministry of a Dominican Student Brother during the Residency Year which he participates in as a part of his Formation. And I cannot imagine being without the presence of Father Vic and Father David, our “retired” Dominicans who contribute so much through their Sacramental Ministry as well as just being there for us.

A new Rectory would provide these men with a quiet space to call home. One of the Dominican mottos is “To share with others the fruits of Contemplation.”   We definitely benefit from the rich formation and spiritual life of our Friars as we participate in the Sacramental Life of the Church, enjoy instructive and inspiring homilies, and just get to know them as persons. They not only deserve a quiet Rectory space, but it would help them in the practice of their life as Religious. A new Rectory with sufficient bedrooms would guarantee a space for a Student Brother during his Residency year, and it would provide rooms adequately outfitted for the care of an aging priest. The presence of these men among us has indeed helped to provide a wonderful spiritual home for me. I hope we can all participate in whatever way we can, large or small, to make the proposed Rectory a reality.

John Lydon , O.P. L.





The Coin and how God works

The Coin by Ilona Helmholz

Walking to Oasis of Hope on a gorgeous, clear morning with my eyes fixed to the dirt road which has so many “booby traps” which I have to avoid for the fear of falling.
As I entered the property I cast my eyes down on the grass and a flash caught my eye and instinctively I picked up the coin.   A boy, close by, followed my gaze and action but I got the coin before he did.    Now the dilemma!   He couldn’t prove that it was his as it could have belonged to anyone.  The normal procedure would be to go to the office hand it in and ask people to claim the coin as long as they could establish its worth.

The boy said he wanted to buy mandazi (a type of delicious triangular donut).   I insisted that I could not just give it to him because it could possibly belong to any of the children there.   I must explain that the Kenyans have absolutely no qualms about asking directly “to give me” and a comment with which our culture is not familiar or comfortable.  Then one always has to give to all and not just one.   The day continued with this little boy approaching me and eventually he was somewhat peeved.

Now, for morning tea they line up for a mug of tea on which is placed a piece of bread and I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to buy mandazis for everyone for the next morning.   I arranged with Julius, the caretaker – who is always present and speaks good English, to obtain the required mandazis and to have them for breakfast the next morning.

Most importantly, he was not to tell who provided them.

The next day he showed them to me and when it was time to serve them he randomly passed them out – well you know there are those who will return for a second.  I suggested he go into the kitchen and pass them out there with their tea and bread.

It was a good feeling to see the children eat a little more than they normally do (everyone loves mandazi) and as I stood there one child came up and thanked me which means someone let the cat out of the bag and I really wanted this to be a secret.    More importantly, it reminded me of the story when Jesus healed ten lepers and one returned and thanked Him and his response was “Where are the other nine?    Also it reminded me that I don’t always thank God as and when I should such as beautiful days and being able to walk – so many blessings which I try not to take for granted.
Ilona Helmholz