by the Regina staff.
You haven’t heard from our inner city house on the Canadian prairies for a while, so here’s some news from each of us.
Nancy Topping: Sharon, one of our artist friends, told me that when she was praying, she felt God moving her to volunteer at Marian Centre. I wondered what he had in mind. We soon found out.
Now, thanks to Sharon’s inspiration, every Tuesday morning we get together with several of the men we serve, and we do crafts together. We have been working with leather, beads, and watercolor pencils.
Our foundress, Catherine Doherty, said that crafts are a way of restoring people to wholeness and can create bridges of friendship. We are experiencing this. The creativity and "homey" feeling at the table is a joy to be a part of.
Hugo Isaza: One of the most basic human rituals is eating a meal together, and this is one of the most common rituals in the Gospels.
Every morning, like the man who gave the banquet in Luke 14:15-24, we gather people from different "streets and alleys,"—people of different religions and backgrounds, people with different languages, people with different types of talents and challenges.
What we do is so simple: we prepare the vegetables together, we cook a meal, and we eat it together. At our meal, we are all "invited guests;" we are all "the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame."
This meal at our soup kitchen is one of the ways we are trying to live the Gospel.
Doreen Dykers: One Saturday, Roy, one of the Native men who come here, told Nancy that he heard about a pow-wow (a Native social gathering) which would be taking place "just outside of Regina." All summer we had been talking about going. "It’s now or never," said Nancy, our director. "Let’s go!"
David Cheese, another Native friend, joined us. We drove and drove and drove. Our destination, the Cree Nation Kahkewistahaw, was a lot further than we expected.
Finally, two hours after we had started, we arrived. The dirt road was filled with people, young and old, heading to the pow-wow. They were happy—happy for the singing, for the drumming, for the dancing, for the gift of life, and for being together.
We were welcomed and accepted just as we were. The pow-wow was a simple, beautiful experience of entering the Aboriginal world.
David Guzman: Since joining Madonna House, I have come to realize the tremendous value of the "gift of self" in contrast to the gift of material things. I am so grateful to God for our many volunteers, who give their time and talent so generously to Marian Centre.
At this time, I would like to pay tribute especially to our two Wednesday dishwashers who are physically unable to serve any longer. Their spirits are still willing, but illness and age catch up to all of us eventually.
Ted had been volunteering at Marian Centre for nearly thirty years, and he has been a shining example of caritas (love). He humbly washed dishes, answered the door, stirred the stew, and most important of all, he was a warm, loving presence for the men in the morning.
Then at noon, for nearly twenty of those years, Joe faithfully took over from Ted. Though he had been battling illness for some time, Joe never complained, and he never let his illness prevent him from serving. He was always a joyful person to be around, and he gave as much as he could.
I could go on to tell many other stories of other individuals who have served in a similar way. To all of them I say, "Well done good and faithful servants!"
Trudy Moessner: During this past year we have held several lovely prayer gatherings with a handful of the men who come regularly to our soup kitchen. This is not something that we opened up to the large crowd that comes every day, but rather to a few whom we knew would be interested.
We sing, read Scripture, and offer intercessory prayer together, and although these prayer meetings are small, they are very beautiful. Then after the hour of prayer, we have something special for tea and sing Johnny Cash songs.
Sister ReAnne Letourneau has also been joining us, bringing her lovely voice and guitar. One of our Cree friends plays his guitar, and I join in on the bass to make the band complete.
It is always so touching to hear the men praying for each other and for the needs of those who are suffering on the streets or struggling with addictions.
One Saturday afternoon as we were praying, 30,000 fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team were gathered at Taylor Field for a game. One of our friends prayed "For everyone gathered at the football game right now, that they will always put God first in their hearts."
What a wonderful, simple prayer! May we all remember to put the Lord first in our hearts.
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