Msgr. Haselhorst Sees His Ministry a ‘Privilege’
Story and photo by LIZ QUIRIN
When he retired at the turn of this century, Msgr. Vincent Haselhorst had already been involved with the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA) since 1988, sponsoring children and seminarians in various parts of the world.
The CFCA is a non-profit sponsorship program for children and the aged in developing countries across the globe, headquartered in Kansas City, Kan.
While he could not become a weekend preacher for CFCA while he was a parish pastor, at the age of 68, Msgr. Haselhorst joined CFCA as a weekend preacher, taking the message of the needs of children and the elderly in developing countries throughout the United States.
Msgr. Haselhorst’s first-hand knowledge of people in need through his six years of service in Guatemala, and his ability to speak Spanish, gave him a credibility that struck true to the hearts of those who heard him whether in Spanish or English.
“I talk about my missionary experience in Guatemala in the 1960s,” Msgr. Haselhorst said. “I’m aware of the needs, and I know what real poverty looks like.”
In this diocese, he helped people learn about those needs and is responsible for most of the 2,683 sponsorships here. Those sponsorships represent children and elderly in 23 countries. More than 900 people are sponsored in Guatemala with 421 in the Philippines. Seven of those sponsored are for vocations to the priesthood or religious life.
It is truly amazing what one person can do to affect the lives of so many others.
Msgr. Haselhorst has visited about 270 parishes in the last 10 years. In recent parish visits, he said he talks about his visits to CFCA projects in Kenya, Uganda, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
As a continuing sponsor, he has been able to visit his sponsored friends on some of his mission trips with CFCA.
“I know how much good the CFCA does, and I know the needs are there. It’s really a privilege to do something that has a direct and positive impact on families.”
At 78, Msgr. Haselhorst has cut back some of his weekend preaching and his flights to all parts of the United States. He still drives to parishes within about a 300-mile radius.
As a member of CFCA’s board of directors for nine years, Msgr. Haselhorst keeps track of where the money goes. Here’s what he said:
About $250,000 a day goes to projects around the world. Now, the sponsorship program is called “Hope for a Family,” because the entire family benefits when one of its members is sponsored through the CFCA.
The organization is concentrating some of its efforts on projects to promote livelihoods for the people of a particular village.
“CFCA started a cobblers program (in Guatemala) with 12-15 people who work together,” Msgr. Haselhorst said. “They make zapatos (shoes).”
Msgr. Haselhorst said he knows people are sometimes reluctant to give their money to an agency that helps the poor because they are unsure how the money is spent.
Because CFCA takes its responsibility to sponsors seriously, all families are required to fulfill certain obligations, including formation classes for parents or guardians, with an emphasis on health, nutrition, hygiene and how to manage money.
If the parents or guardians fail to attend the classes, adhere to the requirements CFCA has, the child is not permitted to continue in the program.
In India, CFCA began a program to promote women working on the premise that “Mothers know the family’s needs better than anyone else,” Msgr. Haselhorst said.
“Now, they’re extending women’s groups to other projects,” he said.
On one of his weekend preaching dates, Msgr. Haselhorst visited a parish in California. I met a woman from Guatemala who had been sponsored as a child, and now she has become a sponsor,” he said and smiled.
To find out more about CFCA go to www.cfcausa.org.
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