Deacon’s Beacon by Deacon Tom Corcoran
“You are the light of the world. Do not light a lamp then put it under a bushel basket….your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:15-16
Last week’s article focused on this new year – 2019 and the opportunities available to us at Our Lady of the Wayside. I would like to continue that discussion, exploring potential new opportunities for many of our parishioners. As we consider changes that we would like to make in our lives, we frequently don’t consider our spiritual needs – our relationship with God – and our neighbor. Our first consideration is – do we follow the message of Jesus? The central focus of Jesus’ message is always:
“Love God – and love your neighbor as yourself.”
That is the central theme of our Catholic outreach to people who need our assistance.
This is especially appropriate since January is known as the “Respect Life” month. Each January we remember the Roe V. Wade decision and place a special focus on the dignity of God’s gift of life. We are currently looking for volunteers to participate in our efforts to send this message and to assist in this ministry. Respect for Life is for all life from womb to tomb. That means the starting point is respecting the life in the womb, but then also ministering to those in need in later life stages.
There are many opportunities at OLW to help those in need.
P.A.D.S. (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) – Every Wednesday night, OLW is one of several churches that open the doors to the homeless. The guests are given a place to sleep, a warm dinner and breakfast in the morning, and a bagged lunch as they continue on their journey. It is very rewarding to journey with these people and to help make their road a little smoother. Volunteers are needed for three “shifts” each evening; a group of volunteers prepares the evening meals and there is a clean-up crew in the morning.
St. Mark’s Sharing Parish Activities – There are many activities that the two parish celebrate – an annual pulpit exchange with the pastors and members visiting each other’s parish. Also, there are other activities throughout the year – picnics and special events including – a monthly food drive to assist needy in St. Mark’s community, and an annual Christmas project which provides gifts to over 100 families (over 300 parishioners.)
Ministers of Care and Bereavement Ministries – These include visiting the shut-ins and bringing Communion to those unable to attend Mass; and assisting families after the loss of a loved one.
Shawl Ministry – Members of OLW gather together, knit shawls and have them blessed by a priest or deacon. They are then distributed to members of our community.
Special Needs Ministry – This was established to assist parishioners with special needs entering and finding a seat in the church.
Domestic Abuse Ministry (DA) – Abuse, physical and verbal, has become too commonplace in our society. This ministry works to raise awareness of DA, offer support to the victim, and promote healthy relationships by educating our community.
Serving God’s people
There are many other ministries that focus on addressing the physical and social needs of our community. At OLW we strive to shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, and provide support to the seniors and the unborn. Jesus tells us that whatever we do for the least of His brethren we do for Him.
To find out how you can participate, please contact Deacon Tom Corcoran at 847-253-5353 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org