If we fail to grasp the full meaning and effect of the Lord’s message in the gospel, then it remains only a whispering within us – a lesson to be committed to memory – never touching the suffering and forgotten around us, many of whom live in a world with little love, hope or charity. That is why each year, we look toward our parish's annual effort to embrace in a more concrete way two of the Corporal Works of Mercy: shelter the homeless and visit the sick.
The Corporal Works of Mercy initiative benefits two organizations – Habitat for Humanity and Mur-Ci Homes – that aid and comfort some of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our community. Our Peace through Justice Ministry and our Knights of Columbus have taken the lead in organizing manpower and financial support for these projects.
Habitat for Humanity
Our Habitat build takes place each fall as we partner with other Catholic parishes to help fund the construction of a home for a refugee family. The parish also supplies the workers for at least one of four weekends necessary to build the house.
It is hard, if not impossible, for many of us to imagine what it would be like as parents to uproot your family and flee a dangerous land for the freedom we enjoy in the USA, only to count the days and hours until they fully and finally find safe and suitable shelter for their loved ones. Yet, it is within our power to help change lives by shouldering a promise to Habitat for Humanity,
To be eligible for a Habitat home, the family must complete 70 hours of required classes and have 100 hours of work on other Habitat houses. They also are required to make a $2,500 down payment and sign a mortgage for the full appraised value of their home.
Mur-Ci Homes Christmas Party
In December of each year, the Knights of Columbus sponsor – and the parish hosts – a Christmas party for the residents Mur-Ci Homes and the staff members who care for them. Mur-Ci Homes was founded in 1960 by parents of children suffering from severe and profound developmental disabilities as an alternative to having their sons and daughters institutionalized in state facilities. Mur-Ci Homes currently serves 72 residents – whose ages vary from as young as 10 to almost 90, several of whom have lived at Mur-Ci Homes for 20 years or more.
For this party, the Knights prepare and serve almost 200 meals for our guests. The festive night, complete with Christmas-inspired table decorations, is set against the backdrop of live Christmas music by volunteer musicians. The highlight comes when Santa arrives to distribute presents to every resident, which are funded through our Corporal Works of Mercy initiative. All parishioners are invited to attend the party and experience firsthand the incredible sense of service and gratitude that permeates the parish hall on the evening.