Skaneateles' native son, Father Peter Major interpreted the Gospel at St. Mary's 8 a.m. Mass in the village on Sunday Oct. 10 before returning to the Sudan. It was the one about 10 lepers visibly sick and shunned by the rest of the citizenry. The lepers asked Christ to show mercy. Christ cured them. And then, all, but one, ran off. It turned out that this one was a lone Samaritan among nine Jews. He instead came to the Lord and gave him thanks and praise for showing his mercy.
Father Major, a missionary stationed in the Sundan, told the congregation that in 2001 he was in the women's prison in Khartoum, where there were women and their children numbering in the 800s incarcerated. As Christmas was approaching the population began to become even more anxious that they would spend the holy day caged up. They looked to Father Major for help, he said, "We must look to the Lord."
They came together as he said Mass and they prayed.
"True story," he said to St. Mary's congregation.
After that Mass, the warden came in holding up a piece of paper. It was a document to release the women and children, who were immediately set free.
Three Muslim women came to Father Major and thanked him for his prayers and for saying Mass. The others just left.
Major was contrasting the relationships between Jews and Samaritans to Christians and Muslims today. In the eyes of the Lord we are one people.
Major then talked of a gang of children in the Sudan with leprosy and how they were shunned by the rest of the population. They wandered the streets like a pack of wild dogs, he said.
Encountering one of these children, he asked why won't you come to Mass and pray, "God loves you."