West County: Hanover church aims to aid Christians around the globe

St. Lawrence Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Hanover will hold its SIT Summer Concert for Persecuted Christians on June 30.
St. Lawrence Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Hanover will hold its SIT Summer Concert for Persecuted Christians on June 30. (Sharon P. Schultz / Correspondent)

Last summer, St. Lawrence Martyr Roman Catholic Church left its Jessup home of 150 years, to occupy a new, larger building to better serve a community experiencing a population boom.

Now, one of the congregation’s ministries is reaching out into the community for help others across the globe.


SIT St. Lawrence focuses on Catholics living on the other side of the world. The ministry was started by St. Lawrence Martyr’s Pastor Fr. Victor Scocco in 2015 to “support persecuted Christians around the world.”

SIT is a Spanish acronym that means, “Trinitarian International Solidarity,” the religious order that originally started this ministry in 1999. St. Lawrence’s is the first lay-person based ministry. Lay-person Matthew Behum is the ministry director.


“Our charism is based on “prayer,” “awareness” and “action” where we come together to share stories about those sacrificing because of religious bigotry within our parish and the surrounding community,” Behum said.

SIT St. Lawrence’s current focus is to provide aid for Assyrian Catholic students in northern Iraq to return home to Qaraqosh and continue their education.

“The 400 to 500 students have endured hardship at the hands of ISIS during the terrorists’ takeover of the Nineveh Plain a few years back where Christians and other minorities were targeted for extinction,” Behum said. “The children, many of whom are missing parents and other family members, had to spend years in refugee camps in Erbil and surrounding areas outside ISIS’ stronghold.”

With the removal of ISIS from the area, children and their families are slowly making the long trek home to the Nineveh Plain. Once back in their homeland, the students may continue the faith-based education they are provided with tuition-free by the Dominican Sisters.

Contributions from St. Lawrence Martyr are used to purchase books and other supplies, and support utilities.

“We have always felt it was a blessing to support these children as they are an inspiration to us in celebrating their strength of faith,” said Behum.

The SIT Summer Concert for the Persecuted will be held June 30. The concert celebration on the front lawn of St. Lawrence Martyr Roman Catholic Church, 7850 Parkside Drive in Hanover, is free.

“It is a way to celebrate that strength of faith, and to offer a family friendly atmosphere where people can contribute to our SIT fund through free-will donation,” Behum said.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. and is expected to last about two hours. Headlining the concert are local musicians, Larry Bowers and Tony Stramelia. The men appear regularly at Cantina Mama Lucia in Hanover as well as at other venues and events in and Annapolis. Their playlist features music from several genres: classic and soft rock, folk and country.

Concertgoers may bring picnic fare but food and baked goods will be available for purchase. Everyone is welcome.

For more information, email Matt Behum at mbehum@gmail.com, or call 410-799-1970. Check for updates on the SIT Summer Concert for the Persecuted Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/201899830418495.

Vacation Bible schools

  • Grace Pointe Community Church of the Nazarene, 68 Gambrills Road in Severn, hosts a summer-long vacation Bible school, “Splash Wednesday,” from 7 to 8:15 p.m. every Wednesday beginning June 20. Children ages 3 by Aug. 31 through sixth grade, may participate in music, crafts, games and stories. Cost is $10. Contact Shelly McGarry at shellymcgarry@gmail.com.
  • St. Mark United Methodist Church, 1440 Dorsey Road in Hanover, will host a vacation Bible school from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 3-27. This year’s theme is “24/7: Every Day Jesus Makes a Way,” as demonstrated through Bible lessons, music and crafts. It is open to everyone ages 5 and older, adults included. Training sessions for volunteers will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 27. Dinner will be served each evening. For registration or to volunteer, contact Lisa Washington at 443-307-3308 or Patricia Caldwell at 410-255-0860.

Archbishop Spalding news

  • Archbishop Spalding High School math students took first place in the region at the Maryland State Mathematics League Competition June 4. The statewide competition is open to all schools. Six competitions are held during the year with awards given based on points accumulated. Spalding placed first in Anne Arundel County and 17th in the state. Achieving top scores were 2018 graduates Lauren Brightwell, Raymond Carbone, Nicholas Pett and Bradley Wilson and junior Leland DePole. The Math League is moderated by Nancy Pachence.
  • On May 24, 301 Spalding seniors received diplomas at the commencement ceremony at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. The Class of 2018 earned more than $34 million in scholarships. Spalding recognizes seniors Kent Hardart, first in class; Celestina Tolosa, second in class; and Wyatt Smith, third in class.

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