Pasta dinner held for Hope of St. Joseph Shelter in the Congo



By Ron Giofu


A pasta dinner fundraiser was held in Amherstburg for a shelter in the Congo with the priest who runs it formerly being based at St. John the Baptist Church.

The shelter was started in 2006 by Father Donato Lwiyando, who the Amherstburg community recently bid farewell to as he is now back in the Congo. Despite Father Donato leaving Canada for his homeland, the social justice committee at St. John the Baptist Church is still moving forward in raising money and awareness of the African women’s shelter.

Mary Beneteau, a member of the social justice committee, said she regularly corresponds with Father Donato and he arrived back home safely.

Father Donato Lwiyando is back in the Congo but the social justice committee at St. John the Baptist Church is still raising money for his Hope of St. Joseph Shelter. They recently held a pasta dinner at the Columbus
Community Hall. (Special to the RTT)

“It’s a little more dangerous there than it was when he visited in the summer,” said Beneteau. “He has to be in before dark. It’s not safe to be outside after dark.”

However, Beneteau said “the girls are fine” and were thrilled to see Father Donato when he returned to Africa.

“He’s getting to know the kids. There are many new ones,” said Beneteau. “He’s happy to be there. He’s been spending time with the girls and his family.”

March is “Month of the Woman” in the Congo so Father Donato has gone shopping with them and purchased fabric for new clothing. He still stays in touch with people locally, including Beneteau, via Skype, Facetime and text message.

“I hear from him every two or three days, at least,” said Beneteau.

While he has built the shelter, Beneteau said Father Donato still dreams of building a school in the Congo. In the meantime, he will work at the shelter fixing beds and doors and trying to provide the girls with blankets and a television.

The St. John the Baptist Church social justice committee held a pasta dinner recently to help Father Donato’s shelter in the Congo. Starting front row left: Rose Shaw, Rose Beneteau, Harry Beneteau. Back row (from left): Larry Allen, Mary Beneteau, Marc Beneteau, Susan Monaghan, Christina D’Aloisio, Ralph Orsi.

Beneteau added electricity is “irregular” in the Congo as it is only available to citizens a few hours per day. A calendar sold through St. John the Baptist Church has provided for solar panels, which helps give the shelter even more access to electricity.

Father Donato sends his love and best wishes to the Amherstburg community, Beneteau added, as he enjoyed his time in the community.

Anyone wanting to purchase a 2018 calendar can call Beneteau at 519-736-6263. The cost is $10.

To donate to the shelter or to sponsor a girl, people can make an e-transfer from their financial institution to or mail or drop off a cheque payable to Hope of St. Joseph Shelter, 273 Fryer St., Amherstburg, ON, N9V 3G7.

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