I didn’t even know we had homeless people in our community, but now I was seeing them. The veil lifted and the heart opened to the suffering our neighbors were facing.
I emailed Fr. Mike Lydon, my pastor, on February 2, 2021, and asked about what we were doing to help the homeless. Can we open the church or the school gym overnight? Jesus had all of a sudden imparted on me a great sense of urgency and I had many questions and concerns. I had no idea how to help, zero experience in the nonprofit world, and was hardly a go-to parishioner for such things. But Jesus emboldened me to move beyond my inexperience and comfort zone. Matthew 25:40 became alive, “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
The email exchange with Fr. Lydon kicked off a journey where God has worked through me and many others to bring His request to life. All of a sudden the right people at the right time were coming together: same mission, same heart, but with different talents, backgrounds, and denominations. We were truly acting as one body of Christ. My role became more clear and it turns out there was a place for my talent.
It has not been easy, but it has been spirit led without a doubt. The nonprofit organization we formed is slated to open an emergency shelter and crisis stabilization center in late 2023, named Bridge of Hope. Currently, there is no place in our community for men, women, and families to stay if they find themselves without a home, but now there will be one.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be easy to forget that the Bible is still alive, that the God of the universe is still speaking to us, that miracles still happen, and hope is still ours for the taking.
All Things New in an initiative that will evaluate the effectiveness of the Church in St. Louis in proclaiming the Gospel and will identify opportunities for improvement and renewal within all parishes, schools and curia offices and agencies. When we become better stewards of God’s gifts, we can improve our social outreach efforts with help from people like Jenna.