|Charles in charge--June 1, 2012. Preparing lunch at Lantern Light Minsitries|
We are busy with more than our ministries as summer draws nigh. On May 25th Charles and John attended a celebration bidding farewell to Sr. Linda Marie White, SND whose community is working with early childhood literacy here in NOLA; her community has called her to Rome!
On Saturday, May 26th, Charles, Bob and John joined a group of Presentation Sisters reflecting on a document for their general chapter. The chapter was meeting in Ireland, and around the globe the Sisters gathered with friends and co-workers for reflection on that Saturday, adding a global perspective and other voices. Their document spoke of heart-centered spirituality; the themes echoed those in our own community; we felt we were at home.
On the Wednesday the 30th, John participated with the director and coaches of the Discovery Walk program in a reflection on the year, making suggestions for the future.
On May 31st, we joined Sr. Linda’s community, [Kirsten Deubel, Mary Ellen Schroeder, Nancy Vance and Linda] for dinner at their home in the Mirabeau Apartments, where they also staff a post-Katrina literacy project for lower-income children and adults. We ate and prayed and shared some stories, too.
On the 1st of June, to mark the 250th Anniversary of the Birth of Blessed Edmund Rice we decided to give a day of service at Lantern Light Ministries; donating the money we would have spent on a party to the ministry. After Morning Prayer focusing on a recent letter from our leadership team about community, Charles, Bob and John went to work. We prepared the lunch, under the watchful eye of Sr. Enid, Sr. Anna and Barry, mixed lemonade, split French bread and applied relish [Bob], arranged two hotdogs on each roll [John], and placed packets of mustard and ketchup and wrapped them [Charles] before placing them in an insulated cabinet. We prepared almost 200 lunches; the bags for the guests containing hotdogs, chips, crackers and a fork. With only 175 guests, this was a slow day, thank God. At 1:00 PM the guests received the bagged lunches, lemonade and a piece of cake. The Sisters said the donation would stretch to provide another hotdog lunch --a treat for their guests.
|Ready for our lunch guests! Would they be ready for us?|
|The Sisters pride themselves on efficiency and kept us moving so the line moved!|
That evening, Bob served his homemade baked beans with bratwurst. [He did not convince Charles that Edmund’s wife always served this on his birthday.] And we had cake, too! Happy Birthday, Edmund.
On June 2nd we did a fair amount of cleaning up after having some renovations done by a skilled carpenter. The funding is due to the generosity of Iona Prep last year. We held on to their donation during a time when the parish explored using the first floor but they decided not to use the first floor at all. So, we are spending the funds readying an area which could serve as an informal gathering space for volunteers and their friends, somewhat like the facility at Operation Helping Hands once provided. There is a rudimentary kitchen area [to put it mildly] and a larger room that could be for informal TV viewing, and whatever. When the new volunteers come we hope the rooms will be ready for painting. [Maybe we could get them to do it and call it a community building exercise.]
On Sunday, June 3rd, we went to Mass at St. Gabriel the Archangel in Pontchartrain Park as we often do and afterwards were treated to a wonderful gathering for the 19 or so religious who call it their parish. Sisters of Notre Dame, Presentations, the Franciscan Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross, the Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Faith, Sisters of St. Joseph, and a Cabrini [who made her novitiate in West Park] were present. We had a wonderful dinner [this is New Orleans] and shared our individual and community stories and reflections on our lives in NOLA. The Sisters, many of them supported as we are by their religious orders, work with the homeless, those in prison, in schools for minority populations, in tutoring and literacy programs, human trafficking and housing for the poor. Our conversation reflected the themes of the recent letter from our Congregation Leadership Team which we used as our prayer and reflection on the 250th anniversary of Edmund’s birth, June 1.
Bob has recently begun volunteering in the business office at St. Joseph’s Parish on Tulane Avenue where Lantern Light Ministries is located. It is a Vincentian parish in an urban area that rents facilities serving the homeless and poor in central city.
“It is as community that we . . . witness to the Kingdom of God, to the values of the Jesus way of living; to simplicity; the search for God, solidarity with the suffering people of our world seen by our love and compassion.
It is no wonder that our Constitutions remind us: “Attentive to the word and open to the power of the Spirit, we are called as brothers to form gospel communities which are our principal means of evangelization.”
[From A WAY INTO THE FUTURE, a letter of May 31, 2012 from the Congregation Leadership Team]