As I write this on the day before New Year’s Eve, I am very much taken by a photograph I saw in a newspaper yesterday. In the photo, a woman holds a 5-month-old child in front of her. The woman smiles widely. A crowd of people is gathered. The caption tells us that this child, small and vulnerable, has just arrived safely from Syria. The child is the nephew of the woman who holds him. The woman is herself a migrant from Syria who has settled in Canada. The small child is a relative of the 2-year-old boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea last year after the boat he was in overturned. The scene with this woman and her family at the airport is one of great joy. Out of tragedy, a sense of a kind of future.
There are echoes here of the Christmas story, of a small and vulnerable child, of “no place for them in the inn,” of a family looking for a place to stay, and through it all, the question, can we recognize vulnerable humanity in our midst? In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, St. Francis hosted four homeless families as part of our relationship with the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network. The families took residence in four rooms near our parish offices. At night people of the parish served the families a meal. During that week, our parish became a kind of inn in itself and lived out the example of Pope Francis’ call for a Year of Mercy. Thank you to all who were involved in hosting and helping.
We have an exciting event to announce for Sunday evening, January 31 after the 5:30 pm mass. Fr. Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest from Los Angeles will be speaking on “Celebrating God’s Mercy.” We expect a large crowd that evening. Tickets, which are free, are needed to get in. See page 4 of the bulletin or check our parish website for more information.
Also, we will soon be starting the 2016 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Our BAA goal, once again will be high. What we would like to do this year is increase our rate of participation: last year it was 22%. May I ask, if you have not contributed in the past, that you consider even a small donation to the BAA this year? It’s an important part of our responsibility to the Diocese of Raleigh.
Blessings on your week!