More thanks, and a question or two

The following letter was sent today:

Sharing The Meal

To Serve One Another With Generosity And Joy
PO Box 206
Leichhardt 2040

6 July 2008

Dear Father Clesio

We just wish to thank all the pilgrims who have so generously and thoughtfully contributed so much towards our “Sharing the Meal" here at St Vincent’s Redfern. It is because of such kindness that we are able to keep going. There are lots of disadvantaged people who come in and share each Tuesday and Friday morning – roughly about 100. People who would not have the opportunity of sharing a meal otherwise. We do think it is of a great help to them and perhaps even a way of inviting the lonely to share ‘table’ with each other.

You may somehow be able to get this note of thanks to them.

It would be nice, too, if you could put it in the Church Bulletin.

Many, many thanks, from us all.

Father John Ford
on behalf of the co-ordinators
Mary McMahon and Kate Gavan

Although there were Spanish/Portuguese speaking pilgrims in attendance at St Vincent’s for catechesis sessions during WYD week, none were present on Tuesday or Friday morning to witness or participate in Sharing the Meal.

You might then ask how did the pilgrims come to be so impressed with the Meal that they made this generous, unsolicited donation?

Perhaps they were moved by the photos of past meals hanging at the back of the church, for it seems highly unlikely and totally out of character that the Neocat parish clergy would have sung its praises.

Mendes and Pelle (and their predecessors) have steadfastly avoided any involvement with this, or any other, community activity. They can’t even find the time or inclination to help 70+ year old volunteers carry the occasional crate of food or piece of equipment when asked. Furthermore they have heaped scorn and discouragement on the Meal and its volunteers, even describing it as the sort of thing that an atheist could do (no doubt the worst kind of curse that a Neocat could muster).

The volunteers work under difficult conditions. Despite numerous requests to the parish clergy over the years for basic facilities, water still has to be brought into the back of the church from outside, and the Aboriginal Medical Service makes its toilets available for those who partake of the Meal. So imagine the surprise when a toilet block was constructed adjacent to the church in recent weeks. How can the archdiocese justify building temporary toilets for WYD pilgrims while not providing running water for its own disadvantaged?

Or has the Spirit moved, in some inscrutably strange way, to have the Neocats experience a change of heart? Dare the community hope that a new era of co-operation has dawned?

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