Dear Sacred Heart Family,
Today, the Baptism of the Lord ends our Christmas Season and we mark another new beginning, the beginning of Jesus’ public ministerial life. His baptism also gives us a chance to focus on the significance of our baptism and how we will live it out as a parish Family.
As with all of Jesus’ life, His actions are invitations for us to follow in His footsteps. Certainly He had no NEED of a baptism, as he was sinless, but He came to Earth to show us the way. He was not one to ask us to do something He was not willing to do In this action, He starts His ministry the way He will end it, by showing us we are never alone.
The way we celebrate Jesus’ baptism is really by celebrating our own baptisms and the call we were given which is a part of our Parish Mission Statement, “…Our purpose as a parish is to portray in our lives the teachings of Jesus Christ by giving compassion and reconciling love to all through our prayer and action.” These words have inspired some of our parishioners in the Outreach committee to respond to an urgent need in our community and one I mentioned in the Christmas letter, which is to care for those, like Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem, who are homeless.
To this need, we at Sacred Heart Church will become later this month a cold weather shelter for the homeless on selected days of the week (Mondays and Wednesdays). I realize if you are not familiar with this ministry, it might be a scary prospect, but as I have done this ministry several times in my younger life, I will be happy to share how we can offer this service safely.
Just as Jesus came to us as a baby, we will start small, offering 20-25 beds only on Monday and Wednesdays and only on days that are under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The guests arrive by bus at 7pm and will leave by 7pm. Guests will be restricted to only the main room of the Parish Hall. We will provide simple snacks for their arrival (they have been fed before they get here) and we will have simple breakfast items for them to take before they leave. The majority of the volunteers are coming from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks but we will like to work with Sacred Heart and the other 5 Catholic Churches of Springfield to supplement this.
We have received a grant from the Claretians to pick up the majority of the costs for this ministry and have promises of help from some of our other Catholic parishes. Bishop Rice is strongly in favor of this ministry, as am I, as it allows us to live our Claretian identity, our parish mission statement, and most of all our baptismal promises we celebrate for those most in need. I will be sharing more details in our bulletin and ask you to stay tuned. If you would like to help us in this effort, please contact me at the office. Baptismal Blessings
With a heart for Mission,