Lost Boys find a home with the Claretians

"When I received a phone call about becoming involved with the Lost Boys, I didn’t know what to expect," says Gini Eagen, a pastoral care worker at Corpus Christi Parish in Stone Mountain, Georgia, "but I knew that my life was going to be really different once they entered into it."

Gini knew that the Lost Boys of Sudan had endured the most desperate of situations. In the late 1980s, 26,000 Sudanese boys fled their homes to escape violence caused by civil war. With their families missing and their villages burned, the Boys, most only five or six years old, walked nearly 1,000 miles together, across jungles and rivers, to safety in Ethiopia. Along the way, many fell prey to lions and crocodiles or died of starvation and dehydration. It was a sign of their unbounded hope and faith that these children persevered in the face of such obstacles.

Those who reached Ethiopia safely spent several years living in refugee camps both there and in Kenya. When several of the Lost Boys settled in Clarkson, Georgia, their first order of business was to find a Catholic church. Their local hosts contacted the Claretians at Corpus Christi Parish in nearby Stone Mountain.

"When asked what they needed, they said a Bible, a faith, and a place to go to church," says Claretian Father Greg Kenny, pastor of Corpus Christi.

Father Greg and Gini Eagen made sure the Lost Boys had a place to worship, a welcoming community, and the practical support they needed for living in a new culture.

"As long as I have been here, we in the Sudanese community have been depending on the Claretians," says Stephen Bayok, a Lost Boy at Corpus Christi. "I cannot even mention all they have done for us. It is too much."

Father Greg is equally inspired by the Lost Boys, whose hope-filled faith indicates that they are hardly lost anymore. "They never cease to give," he says. "You can’t help but be moved by all that they’ve gone through. Despite all of that, the first thing out of their mouths is the praise of God."

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