Week of February 24, 2013

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Lent is a time we are reminded to share our blessings with others. One of the ways our parish has responded to the needs of others is in the Spirit of Giving Program that we have at Christmas time. Anna Vahrenberg coordinates this program for us and does a wonderful job. It is one of the ways she shares her blessings. This past Christmas she shared a story of a particular family we helped and I wanted to share that story with you and the mother’s response of thanks.

Anna writes,
The mother arrived with her two year old daughter. Even though the little girl was very tiny, she had a huge personality and stole the hearts of all of us. She told us everything she knew about Christmas trees and gingerbreads. As the volunteers brought the family’s items out from behind the gym doors, the mother was overwhelmed by what she saw and moved to tears. As they were about to leave the little girl gave us the biggest and most wonderful hug. It is hard to put into words, but I could just feel that there was something extra special about that little girl. What I didn’t know at the time was the situation this family was facing. This sweet little girl has significant health issues. Her mother is single and unable to work because she needs to care for her little girl. It is hard on the other children in the home too, but they are helpful, patient and understanding.

The mother wrote the following note of thanks.

Not only at Christmas but throughout the year we all need to stop and count our blessings. There are challenging times in our lives, there are dark times, there may be times when we feel hopeless. During all of these times we should stop and take a moment to count our blessings. If it is a difficult time we will find by reflecting on the blessings we do have will help our attitude in dealing with the situation we are in. Many times our own attitude determines how we see our world. When we are in happy times we see the world differently than when we are in more challenging times. To be happy does not mean that we have everything in our life that we could possibly imagine as if we were fabulously rich. There are countless stories of wealth and fame that have lead to depression, unhappiness or even death. Money does not make us happy; it is what is within our soul, made up by our beliefs, attitudes and character that leads to happiness. Sure it is nice to have the money we need to do things and buy everything we want…but that is only a material possession. The secret is to always count our blessings. These past few years have been quite challenging for our family – we have seen challenging times, we had some very dark times and hopeless times, and yes, there have been some happy times. But no matter what was happening I always counted my blessings and looked for the good in the situation. And, as difficult as it was in some situations, there was good. I can think of a couple of occasions where it was very difficult to even think that there was any good, but it was there. Our Family’s Christmas wish to you is this: May you see all the blessings you have and may many more come your way. And may you experience all the blessings that life has to offer. Thank you so very much for your generosity and kindness. These are acts of kindness that will be kept forever in our hearts and I pray that God will richly bless you and your family for the kindness that you have shown to ours.

It is a wonderful thing when we share our blessings. This Lent we are again doing the Heifer Project, raising money to provide farm animals in third world countries. We are also having a St. Joseph’s Table. The proceeds from this table will go to assist the hungry.

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