By Tara Mastoris
Special to The CS&T

YARDLEY – The mission spirit is high in Yardley.

Walter Miller, a member of the borough’s St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, is founder of the nonprofit organization His Work in Progress. He and his son, Eric, recently returned from a two-week trip to Bosnia, where they led nine volunteers, who came from their parish as well as Florida, New Jersey and Ohio, on a humanitarian and medical mission.

The goal of the May 27 to June 9 trip was to help improve the health conditions of people in poor areas of the country.

His Work in Progress, which aims to support the sick and help the needy, celebrated its 10th anniversary in Bosnia. Having served previously in Bosnia and Peru, the group plans to expand efforts by partnering with medical teams to provide a larger array of services and more frequent visits to Peru. Miller also hopes to add distributing text books to needy children as another service of the mission. {{more}}

“We have established a relationship that provides hope and trust,” Miller said of his experiences in Bosnia, “which is a by-product of our commitment and persistence by returning every year. Our inspanidualized efforts establish that hope and trust.”

Work in the Bosnia mission presents its challenges. For example, His Work in Progress does not have its own office or warehouse but depends on the changing time schedules of the local community.

This challenge also means volunteers must become flexible in their scheduling to serve the needy.

“The end result is the same in our caring for the less fortunate,” Miller said. “Those that are inflexible would never cope.”

A 40-foot container was shipped to Mother’s Village, a social outreach facility in Medjugorje, Bosnia, which is home to an orphanage and education center as well as an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center. The volunteers for His Work in Progress organized over 900 boxes of clothes, detergent, toiletries, children’s bicycles and toys for distribution to orphans and men overcoming alcohol and drug addiction.

The volunteers treasured being in the company of the men at the drug rehabilitation center. One day, the residents of the facilty made each volunteer a homemade pizza for lunch and shared how their past troubled lives full of drug abuse have been changed because of the values of faith and hard work learned at Mother’s Village.

Father Charles Kennedy, an archdiocesan priest and newly named vicar for Philadelphia-North who went on the trip last year, said no one would know that these men are in a drug rehabilitation community. They attend Mass and pray the rosary daily and learn to put God first, he said.

Mother’s Village, operated by Franciscan Father Svetozar Kraljecvik, reports the men have a very high success rate returning to their hometowns drug-free after living in the pray and work community for three years.

“Their thanks and gratitude pales in comparison to how grateful I am for them sharing what little they have,” said Miller.

His Work in Progress helps lessen the burdens placed on Mother’s Village and offers the children there and in the surrounding community food and clothing. However, these services only sustain them for a short time.

Long-term needs exist for dentists, dental hygienists, doctors and nurses, in addition to everyday volunteers who can help in their own little way.

“I believe that God in His providential way will send His angels. I believe His Work in Progress volunteers are those angels,” Father Svetovar told Miller.

Future “angels” can contact His Work in Progress at 215-741-4947 or

CS&T intern Tara Mastoris is a senior at Loyola University in Maryland and a member of St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, Yardley.