By the time Fr. Peter arrived in 1993, the church was virtually in total disrepair. Dark, dreary and empty–the physical condition of the church in many ways represented the spiritual state of the community. The confirmation program puttered along with only a handful of students. The financial state of the parish was miserable. The baptistry had been turned into a makeshift closet and the bells in the ancient steeple had been gone for decades.
But Fr. Peter had a vision. For one thing, he started a youth program, which involved door-to-door evangelization. He walked through the government projects and befriended the gang bangers. He passed out holy cards. He knew names, faces and families. It wasn't safe. His family and friends feared for his life. But at 11pm at night, he was back out there night after night. He found other youth who assisted him in his ministry.
One year after he arrived, the Bishop came to confirm 200 young people.
(H/T to Amy at Open Book)
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