My parish, St. Vincent de Paul Church in St. Louis, is a haven for the forgotten brothers and sisters of Jesus the Christ.
One of our homeless guests died of a heart attack at the entrance to the church. Another regular guest died of prolonged and acute alcoholism. The parish staff, volunteers, and guests mourned their passing and told stories of caring for and talking to them. One of the parish ladies saw beyond his alcoholism and found a gentle, respectful and kind person.
She also realized that we are not here to save anyone. We are here to serve.
I have witnessed quiet, unsung, and unheralded acts of compassion, care, and tough love for our guests as our staff, volunteers, and parishioners listen to disjointed and agonized tales of woe. And we share our mutual grief and mourning when our guests leave us.
We ponder the grace of the Lenten season in the lives of our brothers and sisters who embody the passion of the Christ and who lead us to resurrection. You may not serve the homeless, but people in your life beckon you to grace, compassion and new life.
Name them. Call them into a circle of prayer and concern. Wish them blessings and joy.
Written by Sister Regina Siegfried, Adorers of the Blood of Christ.