CFCA presenter sets example through sponsorship
November 11, 2011
James O'Toole, CFCA presenter, visits his sponsored friends in
India during a mission awareness trip.
If you ask anyone at CFCA who knows Father James O'Toole, they smile.
Father O'Toole, one of the 33 members of the weekend presenters team, visits Catholic churches in the United States to speak on behalf of CFCA and invite parishioners to consider sponsoring a child, youth or aging person in need.
"Father O'Toole is an extremely passionate individual," said Tim Deveney, U.S. outreach manager at CFCA. "He's a great storyteller. He invites and moves people to sponsor."
He also practices what he preaches.
Reaching the finish line
Father O'Toole currently sponsors nine children through CFCA: six in India and three in Guatemala. He sponsored seven others, who have since graduated and completed their time in the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
Marta, a young lady he sponsored from El Salvador, is the most recent of Father O'Toole's sponsored children to finish her studies, graduating from college as an administrative computer programmer.
The two met four years ago when Marta spoke to a group that included Father O'Toole and others on a mission awareness trip.
"She was already on a CFCA scholarship, but didn't have a sponsor," Father O'Toole said. "She had some financial problems at home, even though she had a scholarship and had to drop out of school. If she had a sponsor, she would have everything taken care of."
Marta's drive to achieve academic success inspired Father O'Toole to sponsor her.
Marta, Father O'Toole's sponsored friend in
El Salvador, graduated as an administrative
"He told me that he wanted to sponsor me because he felt I could reach my dream of becoming a professional," Marta said. "The path was hard. Many times I felt like giving up, but there is always someone who encourages you to go on, to fight for what one desires to reach a goal, and I did it."
Marta has since found a full-time job at a local driver's license processing office.
Friendship through sponsorship
Marta and Father O'Toole exchanged letters once or twice a year as she progressed through school. She appreciates Father O'Toole's help for her and her family during a difficult time in their lives.
"I offer him my deepest gratitude for believing in me, for sponsoring me for four years when I needed it most," she said.
Father O'Toole promotes sponsorship regularly and has photos of the nine children he currently sponsors posted on his refrigerator at home.
"I pray for them all every day," he said. "The love that goes back and forth is so spectacular, and the gratitude is unbelievable."
When he speaks at parishes, he says his joy in sponsoring through CFCA is contagious. People respond very positively to his appeals to give children and their families an opportunity to build a path out of poverty.
"I couldn't even put in words what sponsorship means to me. It's a great gift, beyond expression," he said. "To know these beautiful people and to know they're in my life, it's a gift from God."
Read more of Marta's testimony on our blog.