More than a dozen children from a Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos home for orphans visited the Diocese of Knoxville March 4-7 as part of a U.S. tour to make people aware of the Catholic ministry in Central and South America.
The children, ranging in age from 12 to 19, met with Bishop Richard F. Stika and Cardinal Justin Rigali at the bishop’s residence in Knoxville on March 5, giving the bishop and cardinal an impromptu musical performance.
The children, who are accompanied on their U.S. trip by NPH chaperones from the home in Santa Ana, El Salvador, also visited St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Lenoir City, performing during and after the weekend Masses. St. Thomas is among the many U.S. Catholic parishes that supports NPH with financial gifts as well as gifts of time and talent.
NPH was founded in 1954 by U.S. priest Father William B. Wasson. Father Wasson was serving at a small church in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, when a judge began sending him children to be cared for. Within a year, 32 children were in residence and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, which is Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters,” was born.
To date, more than 18,000 children have grown up in the NPH family, which now operates homes in nine countries: Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru. More than 3,400 children currently are being cared for in loving, secure environments, and an additional 1,600 students who live outside the NPH homes received scholarships, meals, and health care. NPH outreach programs serve thousands of people each year.