December 21, 2014 – A View from the Rectory Window

 

In my View, I often reference ‘our parish family’. During this season from Thanksgiving through Christmas I am reminded of some of our ‘family’ traditions.

Again, this year for Thanksgiving, our Saint Casimir Thrift Shop provided complete meals for 182 families (including over 700 adults and children) and the Church of the Resurrection Food Pantry did the same for 99 families, including over 320 individuals.

Our Knights of Columbus at Resurrection Church (9113) continued their Feed the Needy Project that began in 1986, and has continued every year since, to assist families in need at Christmas. Approximately 200 families are included in the special deliveries each year, the Saturday before Christmas. This family number often encompasses between 400 and 500 children. Included in this special delivery is a Christmas morning breakfast and a full dinner for Christmas day.   It is our parishioners who volunteer to make deliveries to each home. Additionally, the Knights coordinate with the Cape May County Toys for Tots and the Knights of Columbus Women’s Auxiliary to provide gifts for all the children. Some of our students in our Parish Religious Education Program will assist the Knights in   choosing appropriate gifts.

The parishioners of Saint Casimir Church coordinate with Holy Family Parish, Sewell, to support two Giving Trees that provide Christmas gifts for children in our Woodbine community. In addition to a Christmas meal, the Thrift Shop also provides gift certificates that enable families to obtain additional items they may need.

What is most encouraging to me is not only these traditions of service that endure, but in a particular way, to note the traditions of service beginning through our younger parishioners.

In addition to the many food items donated by the almost 400 hundred students and their families in our Parish Religious Education Program to our Thanksgiving food baskets and Christmas meals, our students have also initiated during this season the 1 Million Good Nights Pajama Program to provide pajamas for children in need. They have also collected and donated items to the Philadelphia Chapter of the Cradles to Crayons drive in order that other children less fortunate will have items they need for home (i.e., diapers, bibs, rattles, bottles, bedding . . .) and all types of school supplies. During Advent, our students made sandwiches for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and they are going Christmas caroling to home-bound parishioners. These are just a few of the many examples of service being embraced by the width and breadth of our many parishioners.

And yes, it’s not all service . . . We are again gathering before Christmas all our Confirmation candidates and youth group member for the annual bonfire, Christmas caroling, hot dog eating, gaga ball playing festivities. And hopefully, we will restore skiing (stay tuned).

I am grateful to you for inspiring and encouraging me during these days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While many may bemoan the commercialism associated with Christmas, you don’t have to look farther than our parish family to see that the true spirit of Christmas in alive and well (and in good hands for generations to come).

Father Pete