By Fr. Christopher Kubat
For some around the central and eastern part of the diocese, I am sure you remember the snow storm on Sunday, Oct. 14.
I had planned a trip out west for dinner with this year’s Caritas Christi winners, Gerald and Jean Witte, and their family, who live out by Cambridge. I had thought we were only supposed to get a dusting of snow, but there was enough snow that the roads were not the best and the visibility was poor. We all thought it best to reschedule our dinner.
My backup plan was to spend time in our St. Joseph Chapel at our main office. At the tail end of the holy hour, I heard some rustling in the food pantry, which is not far from the chapel. By this time, the snow was really coming down. It was around noon.
After investigating, I encountered Paul and Sue Liess, Margaret Study, Mike and Barb Becker and Sharon and Jerry Hoffman. John Kuchta, who usually is with them, was not there but had allowed the crew to use his van from work. They brought almost 2,000 pounds of food, along with almost $4,000 in donations to purchase food for our food pantry, which was in need of an infusion of calories for the poor!
After putting my bible down, I put on a waterproof jacket and started helping unload the stash. Those who were outside became covered with big, wet snowflakes.
All I did was help unload the van, snap a picture, and thank them. After I left, they sorted and put away almost a ton of food on the shelves of our food pantry, so volunteers the next day could place them in pantries for needy individuals and families. A “pantry” is enough food to last a week. Simply amazing!
Over the last several Seedlings columns, I have outlined what our volunteers do for Catholic Social Services. Like all of our other many volunteers, I did not need to ask why they were there that Sunday afternoon. It was because they love Jesus Christ, period.
Jesus said “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food … I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:34-40). So whatever we do for our neighbor, we do directly to Jesus!
St. John the Apostle and Evangelist said in his first letter, “We love, because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn 4:19-20). We simply could not do all the things we do to help people without our many volunteers.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all of our volunteers across the diocese for all they do for Jesus Who lives in the poor and needy. Please know you are all in our special prayers.