September 30, 2019
What a night Sunday was. Together, about 200 of Our Lady's children came to us hungry and we fed them. What a beautiful way to conclude our celebration of Our Lady of Sorrows. And if that weren't enough, many of our guests entered our church to light a candle in front of the altar, to pray for a special intention, and found a moment of peace and warmth within our church walls.
This was truly a blessed night.
Were we prepared for the multitude who showed up? No. We were hardly expecting half the amount of people who showed up... And yet, because all of you stepped up, leaned into the chaos, and took initiative to solve problems as they arose, we were still able to welcome and feed 200 people on Sunday. That is amazing, and I am so grateful to all of you for rolling with the punches and making this miracle happen.
I want to share a few stories from that night. If you felt like the whole evening was a whirlwind like I did, we may have missed the goodness that was surrounding us.
Some Stories to Share
St. Mary’s staff:
One man showed up from the downtown community named Nick, and he was very eager to help. Fr. Toby discovered that Nick used to be a line cook so he brought him to Wayne and Andrew who put him to work on the BBQ crew. "While BBQing, Nick shared many stories with us. It seemed like he was really happy to have someone to talk to.”
Lynn Macaulay (Director of ALL IN 2020, works at Lutherwood next-door):
“People shared with me that they felt 'respected' and as a result they respected the space, e.g. cigarette butts were put in the cans provided.“
A young woman was asking for a grocery card for St. Vincent de Paul.” Thanks to Fergus, she left with a backpack full of food and was very happy.”
“People were very touched by the offer to go into the sanctuary and to light a candle. The idea that they could do that throughout the event and not just through the prayer service made people feel comfortable. As you know, a few men shared about a friend who is in the hospital and is dying. They were going to light a candle for him.”
“At one point, I went into the washroom and found a woman crying. She was embarrassed about the tears, found it hard to stop and couldn’t leave because she was with a friend and they were being picked up. She is someone who has had a lot of trauma in her life. She is someone who has been told in many ways that she doesn’t matter. When a young woman came up and offered her a candle, it was the tipping point for her. We ended up talking a bit. She is having a lot of struggles and found something very safe about the space last night. I think her tears were a lot more about release than about being triggered.”
I am so looking forward to hearing your stories from the night, listening to any feedback, and fine-tuning our celebrations for next year so that we will be able to spend less time running around and spend more time building community with each other and with those in need in our own neighbourhood. They're looking for it.
God bless you all.