Orthodox Observer - November 5, 1998

By His Eminence, Archbishop Spyridon

(The following address was delivered at a Philoptochos Bebefit in Long Island for the Schneider Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center)

Beloved Sisters of the Nassau-Suffolk-Queens Combined Philoptochos, Honored guests and friends:

The people of Sweden have a saying: "The one who holds the child's hand, holds the mother's heart."

Tonight, each of you holds in your hand many hearts —the hearts of the mothers and fathers whose children you will be helping in the years to come. Through the Greek Children's Fund, you are extending a helping hand to hundreds, if not thousands of children from the United States, Greece, and elsewhere. You are extending a hand of healing, a hand of generosity, a hand of reassurance and comfort, to hold the small hands of children who need medical attention, and who will receive it because of your love.

The mothers and fathers of these children are not here tonight. Wherever they may be right now, they probably don't know about this dinner, they probably don't know about the Greek Children's Fund, and perhaps they don't even know about the medical needs their children will have in the near future.

But I know that a time will come for these parents when they will wish that they could be here this evening, and stand where I am standing, and say to you themselves what I am about to say. I will say it for them and on their behalf, because, as the spiritual father of these children, all of you hold my heart in your loving hands as well.

What I want to say to you —for myself, for the children, for their parents— is "Thank you." We thank you from the heart, for this beautiful act of kindness and love.

Tonight we celebrate the affiliation of the Greek Children's Fund with the Schneider Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

We are celebrating more than a mere business arrangement. We are celebrating newly-formed bonds of cooperation and mutual assistance.

I pray that our Heavenly Father would strengthen all of you in your service to humanity. I pray that God would bless all of you who work in these hospitals —the doctors and nurses, the staff members and the volunteers. I ask that the Lord would reward with heavenly treasures the patrons and benefactors whose generosity makes it possible to provide this level of care for ailing children.

Our Savior said that the guardian angels of children always behold the face of God in heaven (Matthew 18:10). As you touch the lives of these children for good, you should know that you also touch the heart of their heavenly Father Himself.

May God ever bless you, guide you, and keep you by His gracious hand. Amen.

[ Orthodox Observer - November 5, 1998 - p. 6 ]