After an extended time with summer-like weather, I hope you are enjoying the cooler days of fall. As you have surely already noticed in the stores, Christmas preparation has begun. We have several parish initiatives that will allow you to give to those in need as you celebrate God’s great gift of his son, Jesus. For those of you not familiar with them or who would benefit from a little refresher, allow me to explain each of these excellent programs: Adopt-a-Family, Christmas Food Basket and the Mercy Hospice Giving Tree.
For the past 31 years, a number of parishioners have coordinated this program that makes Christmas happier for dozens of needy families at our sister parish, St. Martin de Porres – as well as in our own neighborhood – with gifts from generous parishioners who recognize that the spirit of Christmas includes giving to others as our God has given us his Son. As we have done for the last three years with great success, sign up to adopt a family will occur through a link you will find in our weekly Flocknote email or on our website, Facebook page or on Instagram beginning 11 November. You will be able to select from a list of families and given their names, as well as the ages and sizes of the children so you can personalize your gifts. After purchasing the gifts, you are asked to wrap them or put them in gift bags with their names on each gift. Then, on Saturday, 2 December, we ask you to deliver them to school between 10:00am and 2:00pm. Members of our parish Youth Group will be at hand to take your gifts from your cars to the cafeteria.
Christmas Food Basket
In addition to the Adopt-a-Family program, we offer everyone an opportunity to share the joy of Christmas with the needy, both at St. Martin de Porres and our own parish, through the Christmas Food Basket Program. Starting next week, you will find a shopping list of the items you may include in this food basket in our Parish Bulletin which will provide all the staples for a Christmas meal for an entire family. Through the ongoing generosity of a friend of our parish, boxes will be provided inside the main entrance of the parish center toward the end of November that you can use to pack your groceries. These boxes will also be collected at our school on Saturday, 2 December, between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
Mercy Hospice Giving Tree
You may already know that we provide casseroles to the Philadelphia Mercy Hospice, which cares for women and their children without permanent housing. Every Christmas, tags suggesting gifts for these women and children are placed on the two Mercy Hospice Giving Trees that you will find at the St. Theresa Shrine and in the baptistery starting in three weeks. You are asked to attach the tag and place the unwrapped gifts in the boxes provided in the St. Therese Shrine by 10 December. Please contact Jane Dwyer (610-306-9171) or Jane Dooner (610-505-1436), the Mercy Hospice Coordinators, if you have any questions.
The women and children at Mercy Hospice have benefitted from your generosity for 40 years, ever since we started the casserole project in our parish. I want to take this opportunity to thank Jane Dwyer and Jane Dooner for enthusiastically coordinating this important parish outreach not only at Christmas time but throughout the year; their dedication to this program is inspirational to us all!
I also want to thank Maria Carillo, our dedicated coordinator for all of our St. Martin de Porres projects, as well as Dick Banister, Pat Carney, Kathy and Jeff Moore, and Shannon Reilly, who have helped with these Christmas projects for so many years! So many of you have made it clear throughout the years that you are aware of the true spirit of Christmas and are eager to share God’s love as we celebrate this clearest sign of his love – his coming in our midst to save us! God came to show his loving concern for all people and to bring them into his loving family, and your generosity has helped many people – both here in our own parish and throughout the archdiocese – to experience God’s love!