Join in the dance for the priest's final well
Father Pirmin Ngolle, who died in Tanzania March 3 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident, will be honored tonight at a fundraiser street dance at the Catholic Church in La Grande.
After coming to La Grande in 2001, Ngolle initially worked to raise money for the construction of a church in southern Tanzania, but changed his focus after officiating at the funerals of four children during a five-week visit there. The children had all died from intestinal problems caused by contaminated drinking water.
Ngolle's contributions to La Grande were great, but what he meant to the people of southern Tanzania was incalculable.
In six years, he helped raise more than $500,000 over the past six years for well and pipe projects that now provide clean drinking water to about 95,000 people in 15 villages.
Diseases caused by contaminated water had been a leading cause of death in this region. A high percentage of the victims were children.
Earlier this spring,we Â— eight women of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church Â— attended a retreat at Wallowa Lake.
For some it was the first time to attend the Women's Retreat. Others had attended many times.
The format consisted of talks, reflection, meals and many tokens to remind us of our time together.
At the closing talk our director asked us what action could we take when we returned to our church and the community of La Grande as a response to what we learned on the retreat.
After small group discussion, followed by the entire group's consensus, we decided to have a street dance to raise money to complete Father Pirmin Ngolle's last well.
Father Pirmin had touched the hearts of the parishioners of Our Lady of the Valley with his joy and love of his Tanzanian family. Father Pirmin's calling from God included not only priesthood, but installing wells and water systems to poor villages in Tanzania.
He was obviously graced by God, because although he started out to build one well, he generated enthusiasm from many people and completed 16 wells before his death.
When he died last March, he was in the process of getting water to another 29,000 people.
In our minds, we are acting in response to God's presence with us on the retreat. How can we argue?
One of the tokens of this year's retreat was a miniature wooden well with these words, "now it's your turn to be a Â‘well' for others."
So, it is with gratitude for God's blessings on the women at the retreat and in loving memory of God's working in and through Father Pirmin that you are invited to attend the Fundraiser Street Dance tonight from 6 to 10.
Come and join in the food and festivities Â— it is our turn to be a "well" for others!
God's Blessings from the women of 2007 Wallowa Lake Retreat.