Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Members Share Liturgy with Homeless at Sanctuary of Sarasota

Bridget Mary and Will 
Today Jean Brgant, Janet Blakeley, Sally Brochu, Carol Ann, and Lee Breyer and I shared a joyful interfaith Eucharistic liturgy with a gathering of homeless folks at Sanctuary of Sarasota which is coordinated by Vallerie Guillory and a group of generous volunteers.
 I met Vallerie at the World Day of Peace on Saturday at the Unitarian Church in Sarasota. She invited me to do a service. "I have called everywhere looking for a priest or minister to do a service, she looked at me pleading,  but could not find anyone who would come,  will you come?" I said yes! Then at our Sat. evening liturgy I shared Vallerie's request with members of Mary Mother of Jesus Community.  Immediately a ministry circle volunteered: Jean, Janet, Sally, Carol Ann and Lee said they would join me this week and Jack Duffy said that he would report for duty the following week!
Carol Ann, in blue, Janet, right in white and Jean behind Carol Ann 

I prepared a two-page Interfaith Eucharistic Service.

Today before we left my home, I told our group that we were on our way to a new spiritual adventure. Indeed, we had never heard of the shelter and did not know where it was located. But, after one wrong turn we found it.  Sarasota Sanctuary is located in a large field, behind the Dealer's Choice on the west side of 301 as you are going south out of Sarasota,  When we arrived we saw round 60 people, mostly men, sitting under an open tent like shelter, some folks were sorting clothes and others were cooking on the grill. Once we arrived Vallerie introduced us and the  our interfaith Eucharistic service began. 
cross given as gift 

It was a honor to worship on this holy ground with God's people who have so few material goods but whose smiles touched our hearts.  We invited all to receive the sacred  bread and grape juice. Most did, some did not. All were respectful.   As I gave each one the Eucharist, I said: "my brother/ my sister, you are the Body of Christ," And so they are! God's words to us is "whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, that you do unto me."

homeless guests gather for lunch after liturgy

After we concluded  our interfaith Eucharist, volunteers served food to the gathering. Several women coordinated the clothing distribution and an artist told us she had come to paint a mural on the trailer that served as their center.  One gentleman gave me a hand-woved cross, a gift that I will always cherish that was made by one of the young women in the group.  When we were leaving, Vallerie hugged me and said "You rock, Missey!"
I will never forget our first spiritual adventure at Sarasota Sanctuary. We will be returning. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org


Angel1943 said...

Beautiful ministry with two special communities coming together in Christ! A good example for all churches!

Gini C. Hyman said...

I was not able to be there on Monday due to a prior commitment in Tampa and then getting hung up for over 2 hrs on I-75 coming home. However, I was following Vallerie's postings and saw the group of mostly men gather around you. Perhaps the others did not come because you were meant to serve this "congregation". Most Priests, Ministers or Rabbis would not come out unless there waa some material or monetary incentive for them to do so. I applaude you, Bishop Bridget Mary, for lifting the spirits of those in need.