On a wintry day a few weeks ago, just before Christmas, a mother of four contacted the rectory asking about assistance with grocery needs.  Her work hours had been reduced and she had run short of money to feed her family.  I explained that through the benevolence and generosity of St. Joseph’s parishioners and visitors we were able to help.  I thought you would like to see the gratitude letter she sent later:

Dear Father Mahoney,

Yesterday was a day I’ll never forget.  The children came home from school all with a look of wonder on their faces. The aroma of homemade beef stew, bread and fresh baked apple pie overwhelmed them. I told them of my visit with you. We are all so thankful to you and the church. Please know the boys had full bellies and were very happy after their meal.  Thank you!

We all like to be told, “Good job!”  Deep in our hearts, we long to hear the affirming words that Jesus heard as he broke through the waters of the Jordan at his Baptism: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  Our truest identity stems from our own Baptism and subsequent outreach to others.  This thank-you letter from the mother affirms that the infusion of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of baptism have taken root among those who come from near and far to worship here at St. Joseph’s.  As Isaiah puts it, “You are a light for the nations … the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, has glorified you.”  What a blessing to have you here!  All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!

Fr John Mahoney