I received an interesting call this week from the Office for Nutritional Services from the Archdiocese. This office is a part of Catholic Social Services and they were wondering about our “No Greater Love Garden”. They were amazed at how our parish can come together in such a fantastic way and create something so wonderful to feed the hungry in our area. I told them it is because of the people we have here at Visitation that such a thing could be possible and that quite frankly, I am amazed as well.
Our garden has produced over 2,600 pounds of fresh food to donate to the poor in our first year. This does not include the canned food that our children bring up during Mass every Sunday. It has been a truly remarkable endeavor for our parish. I would like to take a page out of the Father Mulranen playbook and thank everyone who has participated in serving the hungry in our area - those who helped build the garden, those who planted and tended their plots, those who donated the underground irrigation system (without whom our garden would have certainly suffered with the dry summer we have had), and the committee who continues to be energized and vigilant in the ongoing success of the garden. It has been beautiful to look out the rectory window everyday this summer and see someone out in the garden tending our garden.
Plans are underway to incorporate our school and their greenhouse to educate our youth in growing food and learning about the virtue of charity. I would like to invite everyone in our parish, even if you have not helped before, to our final cleanup of the year in our garden on Sunday, October 16th, after the 11 o’clock Mass. At the 11 o’clock Mass, alumni from our 8th grade class from last year will present their class gift to the parish - a beautiful sign to hang over the garden with the garden’s name on it. Very soon we will also be mounting the stations of the cross along the outer posts of the garden to coincide with the magnificent crucifix in the middle of the garden. It is my hope and prayer that you take advantage of this sacred space on our campus to come, pray, and simply spend some time at the foot of the Cross of our Lord. There will soon be opportunities to donate and memorialize for our beloved dead to provide benches in the garden as well as help support each individual station of the cross.
This weekend’s Gospel is the story of the 10 lepers being healed with only one returning to thank our Lord. We have so much to be grateful for at our Parish. Our Lord has blessed us to be able to help those in need around us and it is a great time to come back to Him and thank Him for His love and grace.
May the Lord give you His peace,