Some of you may have heard about our Prayer Shawl ministry, or you may have admired some of the beautiful pieces on display at our ministry fairs.  But do you know what a prayer shawl is? It’s usually knitted or crocheted, it’s big enough to wrap around your shoulders or cuddle a sick child, and it’s meant to help create a safe space for someone who’s struggling with an illness or heartache. Each shawl is begun with a prayer, blessed when it’s finished, and wrapped with a prayer from the Prayer Shawl Ministry. 

But that’s not all that happens in the Prayer Shawl Ministry. It’s only the beginning!

When parishioner John Budway started going to St Francis Inn, he took up bags of hand-crafted hats and scarves to the guests, bringing comfort & care to those battling homelessness and hunger on the streets of Philadelphia.

Our hats and scarves have also been taken to Duke Children’s Hospital, Moore Square, Ronald McDonald House, and The Healing Place. Blankets and gloves have been provided to Catholic Parish Outreach, Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham. In all, 309 pieces were distributed from the Prayer Shawl Ministry last year.  That’s a lot of yarn!

So who does all this crafting?

Generally, there are 24 women who gather every few weeks to swap patterns, learn new stitches, and share time together.  We knit/crochet because we enjoy it, because we have a calling to provide care and comfort to others, and because our ability to form loops and knots around a needle can help someone in need.  And we also get beautiful blankets, hats and sweaters donated anonymously.

When parishioner and now staff member Kathleen Owen  joined this ministry, it was for two reasons.  When her mom was sick, she received a beautiful shawl from the ministry.  Her mom would wear it as she took her out to the fish pool at Rex. After she passed away, Kathleen wanted to be able to provide a visible sign of caring to someone else in need; someone she didn’t know, but who needed to know that others cared about their struggle. So Kathleen took her little garter stitch to a Prayer Shawl meeting and soon began learning new stitches and making shawls, hats, and even afghans!

So if you’d like to learn to knit or crochet, or if you’d like to be able to help comfort those in need, please join us on the first and third Thursdays of the month, at 12:30 in Room 202. And if you know of someone who needs a shawl, please contact Cindy Cardello at 919-846-8825.

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