Over the course of years, both St. Peter and St. Paul have hosted “Church of the Week” in our parishes. Church of the Week is a St. Cloud area ecumenical outreach program in which we assist “Place of Hope” in providing both food and a place of shelter overnight for the homeless. Sometime during the course of the year Catholic and Protestant churches dedicate one week in providing volunteers for this service. Here at St. Peter and St. Paul, we provide gym space along with mats as sleeping quarters. We also provide the volunteers needed to assist and oversee anywhere from 30-50 of our “guests.” At times I am sure our volunteers provide not only a welcome but also a listening ear at times for those who wish to talk. Traditionally, St. Paul has hosted the week during the holidays between Christmas and New Year; and St. Peter hosted in late January. Recently, however, it has become a challenge to get enough volunteers to help at these times. After some discussion with both Chairs for our Church of the Week program (Marilyn Berg and Karen Kleinschmidt), we decided it might be best to not only try to change the time of year in which we do this program, but also pool our volunteer resources and work together.
This being said, this coming Fall of 2016 we are gathering our volunteer resources from both parishes and hosting the Church of the Week for a two week period from October 10th thru October 24th For convenience reasons, both these weeks will be held in St. Peter’s gym. Some of these changes, we believe, will work better for two reasons: 1) The time of year might better be suited for those who normally might volunteer and yet go south for the winter. This would give them a better opportunity to help out. 2) We know the holidays are a busy time, so October seems like an easier month for volunteers to be away from family some evenings and help. As pastor, I have agree this is worth a try.
The Church of the Week program is so vital, not only to our community and those in need providing a safe and warm place to sleep overnight, but as a People of God we need to stretch our self in service to others since, isn’t this what the Gospel and Jesus are all about? It is really an opportunity to put the Gospel in action for us! We are still in the “Year of Mercy” as proclaimed by Pope Francis I. Volunteering in the Year or Mercy and really stepping forward to take part and help with Church of the Week would be an excellent time to highlight God’s Mercy in all our lives! I, as your pastor, then ask everyone to please consider volunteering some of your time and talent for this. Please call either Marilyn Berg at 320-251-2999 for St. Paul or Karen Kleinschmidt at 320-251-2819 for St. Peter to see where you can help. Any opportunity you are able to assist, even if it is only for a couple hours during these two weeks will be a great help!