St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The 134th Kentucky Derby

There will be a lot of focus on Louisville, Kentucky this week as celebrations abound in preparation of the running of the 134th Kentucky Derby, Saturday May 3rd. Last year, 156,635 were in attendance at Churchill Downs for the “Run for the Roses”. Millions of dollars will be spent on food, mint juleps, partying and betting on the races. I love the city of Louisville and I truly understand & appreciate the revenue that the Derby generates to benefit our town...our State, for that matter. Its all wonderful and I am thankful the city has reason to celebrate.

Since the year 2000 when Sierra Leone and the plight of its people took over my heart and crawled under my skin, I can’t help but view these 2 Minute Sporting Events in a different light. It is difficult for me to join in the exuberance of the local festivities this week, after what I have witnessed in Africa. I do not begrudge anyone else the enjoyment, we all need a refreshing distraction from the tough world we live in. However, as I type this, I am aware of several people in Freetown, ill with treatable diseases, that will die because they can’t afford the medical treatment. I think of the little boy, 3 year old Ben, pictured above and featured on our YouTube Channel ( His mother leaves early to go to the farm each day to search for wood and supplies, she returns late in the Evening. Ben is left alone, undressed, to fend for himself, to find food wherever he can. I think of the children in the tiny Town of Robarrie who jumped up and down with excitement because Nazareth House provided their village with (not toys or ipods but) cold tablets and flip flops.

We, Americans are feeling the pinch at the gas pump and the grocery store. We’re having to tighten our belts and watch our pennies. This hurts us but it is not the same pain that Sierra Leoneans experience when there is no food for the family—when you are better off than most if you can provide ONE meal a day for your family!

I spoke with James in Freetown this morning. He is a bit discouraged, all around him is desperation. Even with our little assistance, his own family lives far below the American most impoverished level. As he goes about giving aid to those in need, he hears the news of the spiraling American economy and fears humanitarian donations to Nazareth House will suffer. He worries about those we serve. He also hears in the news that despite the economic crunch, we continue to spend - especially attending sporting events and gambling ... he doesn’t understand.