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Friday, June 21, 2019
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
For years, the Buffalo metropolitan area has been the host of refugees from the violence of war around the world. One such group, a few years ago were from the war torn country of Sudan in East Africa. At one time, Buffalo hosted over three hundred families many of whom were from very remote villages. Of course, the most difficult experience for their adaptation to our area was the experience of winter. Another experience of adaptation dealt with the availability and cost of food. Many of the families I personally welcomed to Buffalo over the years only prepared and ate one meal a day. Once I was invited to a meeting of some of the Sudanese men which took place at one of the family’s apartment. After a cordial welcome by the wife and mother of the family she brought bottles of water, cups, hot water, instant coffee, tea bags, sugar and milk which she placed in front of us and welcomed us to partake. While we met in the living room our host’s wife, with youngsters playing around her feet, was busy preparing their one meal a day that they would eat, just before her husband would go to work that day. I noticed that after everything was prepared and on the table, she and her children left to the back bedrooms. Our host invited us all around the table with him. Aware that this was the one meal for the family and our meager surroundings, I took small portions of the meal. Many of the others who attended the meeting ate bountifully. When we were done we withdrew back to the living room area to conclude our meeting. It was then that our host’s wife and children surrounded the table and they too partook of the meal. After his guests left I inquired, “Simon, what would happen to your wife and children if your guests were to eat all of the meal that had been prepared?” He answered, “They would wait until tomorrow to eat.” It was then that I realized how honored I was to partake at this family’s table. This weekend, our Church celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi. In the first Biblical lesson from the Book of Genesis, we have Abram known later as Abraham, returning from a successful battle and being greeted by this mysterious figure and priest Melchizedek, king of salem or king of “peace.” He brings out to the victorious Abram gifts of food: bread and wine. He shares all he has and is rewarded by receiving one tenth of Abram’s victory prize. For the Hebrew people this would set the expectation of what minimal return all should make to the Lord, in thanksgiving for God’s blessings to us. In the Gospel narrative from Luke, Jesus senses the hunger of the crowd. He satisfies one of their hungers with his preaching and teaching, but is aware of their physical needs as well. When asked, He would tell his disciples: “Give them some food yourselves.” Then, Jesus would pattern for us how we too should engage in hospitality. He takes all they have to eat, thanks God Almighty for what they have, and generously begins to share it. Amazingly, there is enough for all. This lesson was not only meant for the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, but for all of us who also follow him. We are one family of faith who in a like manner are called upon to welcome many into our Church home. We are to welcome them as they are and where they are in their relationship with the Lord.
We too are called to provide for them and treat them as our honored guests. By our radical generosity, love and acceptance of them, we are to pattern how they too should treat others thus enfleshing the Gospel, the Good News. May we not miss our opportunity to share in the miracles of hospitality and the blessings that await us from the Lord.
WE WELCOME GUEST PREACHERS…. On the weekend of June 23rd we will welcome Deacon Don Weigel. Deacon Don was ordained a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Buffalo nine years ago by Bishop Kmiec. Recently, he has served at Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora and St. John Vianney in Orchard Park. He is also the Diocesan representative for Catholic Relief Services, which is the Justice & Charity arm of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. We have invited Deacon Don to help us launch our new focus for this time after Pentecost: Refugee, Immigrant, & Migrant Ministries. Our new Refugee, Immigrant, & Migrant Ministries team has been meeting for months of prayer and planning, for an exciting year of Gospel value living around this focal point. Having had my life personally blessed by the gift of people from so many different lands, I’m excited for our Church community to share in the cultural wealth that this living Gospel will bring to us. Secondly, on the weekend of June 30th we will welcome Fr. Kuol Dut as our Mission Cooperative Guest. Fr. Kuol is one of the “Lost Boys of the Sudan” who fled his family and home, when he was eight and joined the throng of “lost boys,” who eventually landed up in a refugee camp in Kenya. Just like Fidele Dhan, whose family became my own, Fr. Dut came to the USA as a refugee in 2001. He will be representing his mission Diocese of Wau and the Bishop Gassis Relief and Rescue Foundation which provides equality education, healthcare, food, and clean water to the poorest of the poor, living within and outside of Wau Diocese. His former Bishop, the late Ruloph Deng Majak was one of my good friends in East Africa. Our second collection that weekend will be dedicated toward support of Fr. Dut and his ministry. Please take time to welcome our guests and support these ministries in the Body of Christ.
A FEW NATIVITY STAFF CHANGES will be taking place this month. First, congratulations to Otto Misso who has served our community so well over these twelve years, as Facilities Manager. Otto will be retiring on Sunday, June 23rd. We are most grateful for Otto’s faithful commitment and excellent work here at Nativity. We are happy to announce that Robin Hammer will be moving into that supervisory position. Floyd Bickett, who joined our team as well back in 2007 in facilities maintenance, will also be moving on and we wish him continued success. We are currently accepting inquiries about part time maintenance work here at Nativity. May the Lord Bless Otto, Floyd and their families.
Dear Nativity Parishioners,
Thank-you for all the cookies you donated. We appreciate your generous gift.
Kairos Prison Ministry