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Holy Family Cathedral » Knights of Columbus » Notes from the Knightsand: Two Christmas Stories

Notes from the Knightsand: Two Christmas Stories

BY MARTIN REIDY

Ringing bells, twinkling lights
“Noel” sung come each night
children filled with much delight
Santa’s sleigh in hasten flight
all compose the season’s sights
to recall a Star shining bright
leading all from Heaven’s height
to a stable where by God’s might
a Child is born to become the Light
to save mankind from sinful blight
so comes again our Christmas Night!

And, indeed, Christmas is upon us once again! In fact it has been upon us since October! A few days prior to Halloween I went shopping for a few Halloween knick-knacks, and – lo and behold – the shelves were cleared of Halloween and were filled or being filled with Christmas items. I happened upon a clerk who was so involved and inquired as to what happened to Thanksgiving? She replied, somewhat resigned to her task, that there was no money to be made with the Thanksgiving holiday – and so it is that another honored tradition – and holiday – is lost by the all consuming appetite of commercialism. So sad! so sad! And sad also is the fact that by the time Christmas is actually here we are exhausted of any Christmas spirit that we may have had. Well, so much for editorializing despite its truth. I can report that at least one Christmas tradition will continue at the Cathedral – the violinist at the 8 a.m. Mass on Christmas morning which is our Council’s Christmas gift to the parish. There was some concern that with the changing of the guard that the new Rector may not be attuned to some of our on-going traditions but Monsignor Gier assured me that Fr. Jovita intends to continue the “tempo” of the parish as it is now set (though it may be expected that there could be some fine tuning of such norms at a later date). So, I assume that the recitation of the rosary prior to the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday Mass will continue, that the Council will be able to continue meeting monthly at the Cathedral, and that we will be able to continue to prepare the homeless dinner on the first Saturday of each month in the parish kitchen.

And now for a Christmas story: The Council received a welcomed donation of $1,000 toward the monthly dinner for the homeless at the Day Center for which we are most appreciative. There was immediate concern as to how long into 2015 we could continue this worthy program without either resorting to another parish plea for funds or canceling the program when along comes this donation which will enable us to continue for at least another year.

That was story #1. Now for story #2: I have been involved with the provisioning the homeless for nigh onto 25 or more years – from the days when a group of us would serve breakfast and dinner outside in all kinds of weather at Brady and Denver to the move into the Day Center shelter at Elwood and Archer and what follows is the first time that someone offered to pay for what we served. The Day Center has a serving kitchen – meaning that there are no cooking facilities – and we serve the monthly dinner from a serving counter as the “diners” file by in army fashion (at least as it was in my day) to be served. The (paper) plate begins with me and is passed along to (usually) Rebecca Thompson, and then to the next person, etc. until the plate is filled with the daily fare. The line goes quickly as we serve between 100 and 120 persons in about 30 to 45 minutes, beginning at 5 p.m. and ending by 6 p.m. That includes our organizing everything that we bring from the Cathedral in preparation for serving. Several persons had come by for their dinner when a young, Hispanic man dropped a crumpled $1.00 bill on the counter to pay for his meal. Rebecca immediately said to him that it was free and by his bodily actions in refusing to take the money back I assumed that his knowledge of English was limited so I said, “No cuesta! No cuesta!” which means “no cost” in Spanish but he still refused to take back his dollar bill.

So, I give to you two Christmas stories: The first donation rescued the Council’s monthly homeless dining program for at least another year where by at least 80 to 120 persons will be fed a balanced meal once a month and was given by an organization out of the charity of their mission. The donation was substantial and in no way do I belittle their charity or intention but such donation I am quite positive will not jeopardize their continuing as an eleemosynary organization for which purpose they were founded by and for the benefit of mankind in their mission of fulfilling the love and desire of God. The second donation of $1.00 will make no difference to our overall funding but, I assume, was a substantial donation for this person to give to us for a dinner that was freely given to him. So, which donation do you think God found to be the more glorious? The one from the organization fulfilling the will of God with the glory of God in mind and given with the intent of making the lives of others more livable as they are also in the love of God – or the donation that will make little or no difference to the lives of the many and yet was given from the charity of the heart and now empty pocket of one to whom the meal was freely given as a result of the first donation? I cannot say, I cannot judge, for in the balance they seem equal and, again, they seem not and for that reason I am glad that I am not God.

However, could this not be a case of two cups given and both filled to overflowing? Just a thought…!

On behalf of the Knights of Columbus Council #10388 I extend to one and all a Blessed holiday season and a Merry Christmas!     PAX!

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