My senior year of high school my friends Breanna and Rachel (they are sisters) and myself and my brother would spend every Tuesday night eating a meal with unhoused people. There was a local non-profit that provided food for people experiencing homelessness. What I loved about it, is that everybody who came would all eat a meal together — erasing the lines between who was serving and who was being served. We would sit with the same guys every week and play Jenga. One of the guys was named Wolfman, a name one does not forget!
I think there was something about those Tuesday nights that was formational for us high schoolers. After all, my brother is now a civil rights lawyer and my friend Breanna works at a community center in Ireland that supports Travellers, an economically challenged and vulnerable population.
Jesuit priest, Gregory Boyle, once said this: “When the gospel connects with our hearts and we find ourselves on the “outskirts,” those on the margins may wonder what we’re doing there. They aren’t accustomed to our presence in their space. In the end, though, the measure of our compassion with what Martin Luther King calls “the last, the least, and the lost” lies less in our service of those on the margins, and more in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them.”
I think what Father Boyle is getting at is this idea of incarnated solidarity. Less of a service to approach and more of a service with, recognizing that our lives are bound together and so is our liberation. And this could be fun, like eating a meal and playing Jenga together on a Tuesday night.
Some of you may have heard that the Mission & Outreach community here at Epiphany is in a season of discernment about where God might be calling us to next. We are taking some intentional time to hear from the greater parish community and exploring new partnerships in our community.
I have come to learn of the ways that M&O and you all helped start the Blackstone Library in the South End when you realized the school there didn’t have its own public library. Some of you have faithfully companioned the Rawan family as they have resettled here from Afghanistan. There is a group of you that has gone to help out at San Lucas in Chelsea every Friday morning for the past 13 years to organize food for the food pantry. Many of you have been involved in Haiti and Honduras and are doing good work here locally in the community as well. And as a parish we have been generous with our resources — these are just a few examples!
As part of our discernment, we would like to include as many voices as possible together as a parish to brainstorm all the possibilities. This is an exciting time and I believe we have the people and resources to really allow ourselves to dream big as we follow God’s call.
We want to hear your voice! Please consider filling out this survey today as an act of compassion and justice.
Mission and Outreach Survey