Over the last five months, we have had the opportunity - through the graces and blessings of the Holy Spirit - to have visited over 2,400 homes in our community. During this time, we have been witness to a significant level of suffering, sometimes physically, most often financially, emotionally and spiritually. When possible we have provided assistance and support by way of empathetic and merciful dialog, prayer (both on-site and via our prayer ministry), and economic assistance.
The economic assistance has consisted of gift cards, (12 to date), clothing and basic furnishings necessary to daily living, and in three instances, short-term accommodations for homeless individuals while we worked to relocate them to more stable living conditions, simultaneously working to connect them with social service agencies. Most recently we supported efforts for a young single mother-to-be by helping to coordinate and provide some needed items for this individual and her child.
Our journey over the last few months has highlighted some glaring needs within our community, brothers and sisters of ours suffering most often in silence. As one woman stated when we visited her, “if you had not come here today, nobody would know that we are here struggling like this”. As we reflect upon the suffering of our neighbors, we are reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) where Jesus asks - “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” The scholar answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise”. Similarly, we recall Christ’s words in Matthew 25:40 – “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”.
Accepting Christ’s call to “go and do likewise” we presented the concept of Joseph’s Closet to Fr. Bob recently; he was both excited and supportive, authorizing implementation of a plan to collect specifically needed items for local families/individuals within our community. As such, the Missionaries of Mercy of St. Joseph Church, will soon be expanding its services by implementing and coordinating Joseph's Closet. The plan is to request - by way of the Bulletin and electronic correspondence, specific items of need, which will allow us to better coordinate and control what we collect in a manner consistent with identified needs and storage space. Thus, as we continue our neighborhood engagements we will maintain, as we have, a log of identified needs and make every opportunity to address them as quickly as we can, and now hopefully with greater support of as-needed donations of specifically targeted items.
God Bless You,