A call last Monday after a snowstorm requesting space for homeless people. An emergency meeting with my brothers in community and parish staff. A short time to reflect and pray. All of this lead to saying yes to transforming our parish hall into an emergency overnight shelter – quite literally overnight!
For the most part the regulars at our parish are adjusting well. First I notice their shock and then it gradually transforms into an offer to help. People are coming from other faith communities and from no particular faith community at all to simply say that they care too. It’s beautiful.
After a week of meetings and mitigating I finally had time to reflect and came to the conclusion that sometimes mission finds us. We were so busy trying to articulate a mission statement in my religious community and in the parish that 3 of us have been assigned to that we simply didn’t see this one coming. Namely, that God is using homeless people to knock on our door and ask us to look after a very important need in our community. We are realizing in a very tangible way that these people are God’s beloved too and we are here to care for them. Personally, I’m beginning to realize that the front page stories and news interviews will soon fade but they will have left behind a great gift – our new mission. One where we all get to work full time and continue to discover what a privilege it is to care for God’s beloved in downtown Kitchener. Looks like a new mission has found us!
Photos and Article by: Fr. Toby Collins, CR, a member of the Congregation of the Resurrection. www.resurrectionists.ca