Dear Good People of Saint Mary,
Last week we gathered to honor volunteers, and to thank them for how they bring life to our parish community.
There is nothing so wonderful as a volunteer, or anyone, for that matter, who can represent Christ to others. Twelve years ago when I came to Saint Mary it seemed like we had forgotten how to volunteer. Or, more accurately, I guess it could be said that volunteers had been hibernating because there had been no invitation to them, to make their gifts known and used for the food of all. There had been no Parish Council since 1976. Ministries were managed in very small doses, if they were there. We had prayer groups and Knights of Columbus, lectors and eucharistic ministers, but our presence in the community was nonexistent. I remember going to my first Micah meeting many years ago and asking why we weren’t involved in outreach to the homeless, or refugees, or the hungry. I was told that the Catholic Church wasn’t interested. I was even told by our own Diocese that Saint Mary had refused to be involved with refugee resettlement, so the Diocese had decided to work with Fredericksburg Baptist Church instead. Since then we’ve been all about the process of waking up, and using those gifts in service to God and others. Saint Mary is a very different place, thanks to you all.
At our ninth annual volunteer appreciation dinner this year, the tables were turned and our paid parish staff had a chance to serve you, our volunteers, as a way of thanking you for your dedication which makes all of this work. This, Jesus, works. And your continued commitment to making Christ visible is the hope of our Church and the future of holiness in our world. Your work is, indeed, sacred, and we thank you. Thank you for coming to dinner, the feast is prepared, we just need people to come and dine…
This year we thanked: Julie Appleton, Rocio Atkinson, Sue Bain, Gregg Carneal, Leticia Gonzalez, Christi Greenwell, Maureen Jones, Patti Kaila and once again, Peg Larose. We thank you—and ALL of you who deserve awards, too—for helping us build a good home for all God’s family here.
Our thanks also go to Patti Kaila and Dawn Miller, our hosts, Karen Sturtevant and Rick Caporali who cooked the best dinner we’ve had on record, and all who transformed the gym out at Holy Cross into a real place of joy.
God Bless You,