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The Mission of our Rosa Parks Youth Program has always included to “Provide a safe place for children to express their feelings and discuss their Issues.” Lately we have been doing that so often—and at such a deep poignant level—that our place almost feels like a sacred chapel.
On Tuesday, one of our creative 9 year old girls came to the art table with tears flowing. After a long hesitant conversation and lots of Kleenex she talked about her Godmother who had died the day before. The really hard thing was that she and her Mother were already at the hospital eager for a visit. As they reached the door, they were informed that she had just died. Eventually, a beautiful picture was created in honor of her Godmother and taken home to display.
The Capuchin ‘On The Rise’ bakery’s story began 10 years ago, when a man named Edward Collins walked into the Capuchin Soup Kitchen after 32 years in prison. The Department of Corrections had made a baker out of him during his time in the system, and his newfound skill took him to wardens’ birthdays and prison anniversaries. Upon his release, however, his felony gridlocked his ability to find employment, and Collins, disheartened, decided to return to the living he had known: selling drugs.
By Providence, Edward attended a Soup kitchen prayer session open to all guests and there met Cynthia Lockhart the Conner Kitchen chaplain. She referred him to Br. Ray Stadmeyer who tasted his pie and decided to let him use the Capuchin ovens in off hours to make products for Sunday bake sales at suburban Catholic parishes.
I greeted Monday March 20th by placing Neil Young & Crazy’s Horse’s “Rust Never Sleeps” on my turntable. It along with many other albums I find too depressing had been vacant from my listening routine for the last six dark months. With Monday’s return of equal day and light; the vernal equinox, I enjoyed my breakfast while listening to “My My, Hey Hey.” Certainly even with the return of the sun Mr. Young can be pretty bleak listening, but I always look forward to the return after his exile. Much as I might enjoy living in a place like California, I wonder if I would enjoy the sun as much, if it had not been banished for so many months, would the sun feel as warm if I didn’t have the contrast of the low dark days of winter.
As you know one of the values of the Capuchin Mission is that of “joyful service”. It may mean different things to different people, but I like what it says it means, “Respectfully addressing people’s needs, transforming all.” The Apostle Paul writes to us in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver.” This is one of my favorite passages of Scriptures, because it reminds us that when we give of our time, self, money or whatever, we should be happy to do it. Not grudgingly or unhappily, but pleasing God by being happy to give.