We Are Called to Serve the Poor

From today’s second reading: “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” – Jas 2:5

How blessed are we as a parish to serve those who are heirs of the kingdom? How blessed are we to serve the poor in the world through the Pope Francis Outreach Center? The Catholic Standard has documented the work that the Lord does through our helping hands and hearts in a way that will please you immensely. It has published an excellent online article that will be in the main print edition soon of Pope Francis’s visit to Washington. Below are some excerpts from the online article. Praise God for the Center and for the beautiful depiction of it through the Catholic Standard!

Volunteers and staff of the Pope Francis Outreach Center in Southeast Washington say they hope the upcoming visit to Washington of its namesake will help the faithful better know and love the poor.

“Pope Francis said that the poor are not to be pitied because Jesus is present among them. In their suffering, they know Christ in a special way,” said Ryan Hehman, director of Assumption Parish’s Pope Francis Outreach Center. “We hope our efforts reach out to those who hurt the most and are in need the most, especially those in need not just of material help, but of love and friendship.”

“Pope Francis lives as poor a life as he can to be like Christ who was poor, and to be in solidarity with the poor… “We want to represent the generosity of God. In the Gospels we learn ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first,’” (Fr. Shaffer) said. “In this world, the people we serve are last, but in the Kingdom of God they are first. That is an anomaly that God taps into that the people can identify with.”

Volunteer Richard Miller said he has served at the center “for 20-some years now, and as long as God gives me the strength, I’ll keep on doing it.” “My work here has taught me what it means to give to others,” the 74-year-old member of Assumption Parish said. “The most important thing is to care about those we serve. If you don’t care, then you can’t be a volunteer.”

Jeannette Thomas, a 40-year member of the parish, volunteers with the outreach center’s clothing distribution. “We give people the best. Everything we give is clean and sorted and ready to wear,” she said. “That is because we are working for the Father in His house, and these are His clothes we give.”

–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg