Spotlight: St. Francis-St. Maximilian
April 13, 2021
By Susan Mooney-Smith
Church Coordinator, St. Francis-St. Maximilian
Wow, what a year!
Though St. Francis-St. Maximilian adapted our charitable activities with the CDC guidelines, we weren't sure how we would handle our MCREST commitment. We were not going to need to do the many things we normally do, like transportation and overnight security. We weren't going to need to plan activities to help our guests enjoy their evening.
What we were going to need is to rethink how we did our meals, with all the CDC guidelines, and the need for the meals to be microwavable.
We started planning right after our Christmas Giving Tree event. It was clear that one of our biggest needs was to raise funds for the cost of the motel rooms. Technically, we were responsible to pay for the 30 guests we normally sponsor. We knew that many other churches had the love and talent but might not have the financial resources to pay for the motel rooms. We set our goal to sponsor 60 guests. There was a lot of concern that we had set the goal too high.
After a lot of discussion, prayer, and guidance from Father Chris, we left it in God's hands. We hoped to meet the goal but felt comfortable that whatever we raised above our commitment would help. We prayed, we talked at each Mass about how important MCREST was to our vulnerable brothers and sisters.
How God works in our parish became clear. We exceeded our goal twofold!
Our next challenge was how to give our guests the wonderful meals we have historically given. Our meal teams were up to the challenge. I am in awe of their dedication and creativity to give our guests the best experience they could have. We discussed the proper packaging, how to put all the meals together, what foods microwaved well, and how to get the food to the MCREST offices by 1 p.m. As the week progressed, we adjusted based on what worked and what didn't work. All the teams were so flexible and open to what needed to be done. What a blessing!
I want to especially thank our sister churches and teams who helped with dinners, especially when we asked for them to double their commitment when we were asked to provide 60 dinners a night: St. John Lutheran, First Congregational, Living Word, Holy Family-Memphis, The Wolski Family, Our St. Francis-St. Maximilian Hispanic Family, and The Knights of Columbus.
The only problem with our whole week of experience was that we had so many volunteers we did not have enough work for them to do. What a blessing and problem to have!
Our church community is very thankful that God has helped us be the hands and feet of his work. We believe and love the work MCREST does for our fellow souls. We are committed to helping this important work.