Christian Service News 7-30-2017
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt.7:12)
I wish all of you a safe and healthy week ahead. It is hard to believe how fast time flies sometimes. The warmth of July is almost over. However, we still have plenty more warm days and nights ahead. We still have time to relax and enjoy life. As for many of us working in Christian Service, we are busy preparing for this year’s Mercy in Action Service Day, October 14. We have several projects planned that I think will be of interest to you. They are all based on a Corporal or Spiritual Work of Mercy. Two projects in particular will help us provide shelter to those without a home.
“Shelter the homeless” is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy that I would like to focus on this week. I am sure all of us recall the Scripture passage in St. Matthew’s Gospel explaining that when we provide shelter for someone who has none, we are doing it for it Jesus as well (Mt 25:31-45). Some of us may recall reading the verse, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt 8:20) and think about how Jesus, was actually a homeless person. He was born in a manger, had no street address once he began his public ministry and was buried in a grave that he did not own. I have learned that becoming homeless is easier than most of us might think, based on my conversations with the homeless guests that visit our food pantry or clothes closet. Some say they lost their homes when their spouse died, or when they lost their job, or when they went to jail. They never recovered. Instead the downward spiral they fell into, forced them into depression and addiction. It is difficult to get a job or even an ID card when you have no street address. It is also difficult to stay clean when you sleep on the sidewalk, or have no place to shower, shave or even brush your teeth. This corporal work of mercy opens my eyes to the misery of those who have nowhere to call home.
Besides praying for these folks, what can we do? It is not practical to take in everyone that we find living on the street. However we can provide financial support and even volunteer to work at shelters that provide temporary places for the homeless to sleep, eat and wash. Some places provide social workers to help their guests find permanent housing; some provide career skills. Mental, medical and dental support that are all necessary to help the homeless get back on their feet are also provided.
This work of mercy invites us to be hospitable to those we see on the street or even those that happen to come into church to pray or get warm. We are called by God to make them feel welcome and cherished. In St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, he writes “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2). Sometimes when a guest enters my office and repeatedly asks for help, I imagine that she or he is an angel or even Jesus in the flesh. I find it a little easier then to be welcoming.
This year on our Mercy in Action Service Day, October 14, we will have the opportunity to volunteer to repair and clean two shelters for homeless ladies and their children. They are as follows:
Mary’s Mantle whose mission is to provide a Catholic residential program for homeless expectant women by being witnesses of Christ’s love and promoting the dignity of life. They provide a safe, faith-based, and caring environment that supports their guests into motherhood and provides them with aftercare time for continued personal growth and integration into the community.
Sanctum House is a safe home for survivors of Human Trafficking to heal and rebuild their lives. It is a place for women over the age of 18 to get a new beginning. They are provided shelter and offered to participate in a two year program to develop life skills, personal development, education and a chance to sustain an independent lifestyle.
I hope you will consider volunteering two or three hours of your time on October 14 to help get one of these shelters operational for the ladies and children who have no safe place to call home. If you are unable to help in person, please know that supplies and tools will also be needed to complete these projects.
May the Lord bless all of you for everything you do to support St. Mary parish community.
George Krinke, your Christian Service Coordinator