I don’t know where to even begin with my observations and emotions on this one. This was the 11th 30 Hour Famine that I have been a part of since its inception! It was like “going back home” to a very good place! The Famine is the epitome of what a church community should be about and that really has to do with the spirit, love, creative talents, and community leadership of Kali & Ralph, Terry, and Mike. Over the years though, there has been a ton of people who began the Famine event and then continue year after year to let Love shine through their Actions!
Several years ago, we lost Claudia then last October we lost Kathy. These two women, women who never asked for the spotlight, but were always so present, were there at the ground level years ago and their touch continues all over the event to this day. This weekend was so emotional because their physical presence is not there yet, their spiritual presence is so obvious! Such a strange thing happened on Sunday morning. Throughout the weekend, many people spoke or mentioned the Holy Spirit being at work. There seemed to be a calm presence that everyone noticed. Then when we all got together to take a group picture, I looked at the photos Vincent took for me and there were transparent perfect orbs all over the group shots! Spirits show up in pictures as transparent perfect orbs! I truly believe we were surrounded by Kathy’s and Claudia’s love and energy, along with the energy of every loved family member of every person there doing the Famine for the weekend. It was a very special feeling this year, and those of us who have been there for a while recognized it. One added strange twist to the story was when I told Kali I visited Holy Spirit Church in Stamford last Tuesday, and she said, “That was my parish that I grew up in”! I have known Kali for over 18 years and NEVER KNEW THAT! Tell me the HOLY SPIRIT (in words and action!) is not working overtime in my world right now! Coincidence?? I think not!!
So..the Famine. 11 Years…..a total of over $250,000 raised to end world hunger! World Vision is such a great organization. Vinnie and I have sponsored a total of 4 children in Uganda over the past 9 years or so. We had Lilly and Reagan for years and now we have Cissy and Samuel. Such a blessing to know we are touching the lives of children in their own communities and their families. It is frustrating to know though that there is plenty of food on our planet to feed everyone….but due to so many other political reasons it just can’t get to everyone. The theme of this year’s Famine was “TELL EVERYONE”…..Everyone needs to know this. I really have no idea how to fix the political mess of the tribal nations that keep people in complete poverty in various countries in Africa or the dictatorships of some countries in South America or Asia! But at least I feel that by working through a solid organization like World Vision, some families might be doing a little better because of my family.
This weekend 50 teenagers had 2 hours of service time. In those 2 hours, we all packaged 10,000 meals! It was amazing. Those meals will go from Tracy Elementary School in Norwalk, CT to the Congo region in Africa! WOW!! That organization that we all served with is called “Stop Hunger Now”. They partner with Catholic Relief Services. The guy who lead the packaging talked about his “calling to do something more”. It was such a pleasure to meet this young guy who coordinates the packaging and then sends thousands of meals to places in our world! Very cool!
Bishop Caggiano kicked off the event and then also said the Mass on Sunday. What a blessing to have him with us. He seems like such a normal guy. He spoke about the hunger far away and the hunger here in Bridgeport Diocese. He also spoke about the physical aspects of hunger and the aspects of emotional and spiritual hunger. He was so easy to listen to. He seemed to have an open heart for the kids and adults in the church. He never sounded “preachy”….he sounded sincere. Very nice….So glad to have met him. One line he said at the opening kickoff has stayed with me. He said, “Instead of “I live for me”, our life’s mission statement should be “I live for you”. At the very basic foundation of our faith, Christ always said, “I live for you”… and I died for you. So simple and so beautiful. It creates a very cool image if I take a minute to really think about that. It kind of changes how and why I do everything if I really am very honest with myself. I do many, many things for my own benefit….not always for the benefit of others! Nice message to take as a “take-away”.
So…the weekend is over and I feel blessed. Blessed to have raised my children in a community of love (I just hope all 4 of them realize this someday!!), Blessed to be able to “go back home” to friends and families in the church I have known for almost 20 years, and Blessed to have good friends to be with me when I get there!
AND I truly am Blessed to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of those I love, and recognize it when I do feel those spirits, in so many aspects of my life!