While the Feast of the Ascension marks the end of Jesus’ life here on earth, it does not mark the end of his involvement in our lives. In fact, Jesus’ involvement in our lives is ubiquitous. And among other things, his involvement constantly reminds us of our human responsibility to others.
Covid-19 has underscored the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. As the director of Saint Anne Hope Ministries, I’m witness to hundreds of have-nots. Some have lost their jobs and struggle to find ways to feed their families. Others wait in hope to return to the job they once had, so they can pay everyday bills. Still, others are anxious because salary reductions have also reduced their ability to pay their rent.
Here at Saint Anne, parishioners take their responsibility to those in need very seriously. From volunteering to serve, to contributions made to assist those in need, the generosity of Saint Anne parishioners is overwhelming.
At Saint Anne Hope Ministries, more than 300 volunteers, many of them parishioners, contribute their time at the House of Hope Resale Shop to help fund Project Hope, which is one of the parish’s outreach arms to the poor. Another 30 volunteers routinely assist to serve those in need at the Project Hope office and food pantry. Because of all these volunteers, Hope Ministries has successfully been able to help nearly 200 families, representing nearly 650 people, month-after-month despite the pandemic. With the House of Hope currently closed, volunteers who have committed so much time and effort over the years should be proud that their work has helped sustain and support the ministry at a time of great need.
That includes supporting organizations that help the ministry extend its mission — to help families in crisis find their way back to self-sufficiency. Hope Ministries Board of Advisors and Father Bernie recently approved more than $100,000 in grants to organizations helping support vulnerable populations move forward with their lives. Barrington Area Council on Aging, Barrington Giving Day, Catholic Charities, FISH of Carpentersville, Fellowship Housing, Leyden Family Services, Little Sisters of the Poor, Samaritan Counseling Center and St. Columbanus Food Pantry, will all ensure those in crisis receive immediate assistance. Additional funding to other organizations will be considered as the House of Hope reopens.
There has also been an outpouring of support from the Saint Anne community at large. Generous parishioners contribute to ensure families in need continue to have access to food, gas, utility support and rental assistance. Others have provided masks and cleaning products. Countless others have willingly asked to be on the front lines of food distribution.
Jesus is active in our lives. The Saint Anne Catholic Community provides an ongoing example of that.
Director, Hope Ministries