Father Tirso

Let’s get ready to exercise our discipleship!!!

The spirit of giving and service becomes stronger in the holiday season more than at other times of the year. Of course, as grateful disciples, the call to self-sacrifice and to serve the needs of others is not something that is a “holiday thing to do.” Still, the holiday season brings out that spirit more powerfully. With that in mind, here are a couple of ways we, as a parish, can give back and exercise our grateful discipleship.

GIVING TREE - We will again be offering a chance to help needy families in our immediate area who may not be able to afford gifts for Christmas. We are currently in the process of collecting information on families who might be the beneficiaries. Once we have a working list, we can then determine a timeline. Nonetheless, the Giving Tree is on its way so we can get ready.

ANGEL HAIR MINISTRY - This is a ministry that is near and dear to my heart. Parishioners may remember the brief history that I gave last year. About four years ago, a friend of mine and I started what we call “Angel Hair Ministry.” For one day in the holiday season, we offered free basic haircuts for the poor, those living in shelters, and those living on the streets.

For many of us, a simple haircut is something we may take for granted. When we need a haircut, we go to our barber or the salon of our choice. Afterward, we feel good because we not only look good, but we received personal attention and maybe even a little pampering. For those living with poverty of whatever level, a haircut becomes a luxury that is unaffordable. Oftentimes, those living in poverty need to make a tough choice on whether to spend money on rent, food or medication. If there are children involved, the choice becomes even harder. In those instances, the choice is made to make sure there is shelter and food for the family before anything else. Sadly, though, after paying for those basic necessities there is little to nothing left. Such things as clothing, toiletries, and, yes, even a haircut become expensive luxuries. Angel Hair Ministry developed out of a desire to provide the poor and homeless with an opportunity to “feel human” especially in anticipation of the holiday season.

During Angel Hair Ministry, we offer breakfast, lunch, a “doggy bag” as well as toiletries, used clothing and simply a place where the poor could escape the cold weather even if it is just for a few hours. We provide an atmosphere of hospitality where volunteers not only cut hair but mingle with the guests, getting to know their stories and a chance to see that those living in poverty are regular people themselves. The guests receive not only a haircut and free meals, but also an opportunity to be pampered for a change.

For the last few years, my friend and I brought Angel Hair Ministry to my former parish, St. Thomas of Canterbury. This year, we wanted to bring the ministry here to the Rogers Park area. The original plan was to host it here are SMM, but we are looking into the option of hosting it at St. Jerome’s. The reason is that St. Jerome’s has a hall with a cafeteria style kitchen which is more suitable than our small Activity Center kitchen. This is a detail that is still being worked out, but the following details are set.

Angel Hail Ministry will be Saturday, December 1, 2018, starting at about 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. I would like to extend an invitation to the entire SMM parish to take part in this service project. We will not only need donations from the list I will provide below, but more importantly, WE WILL NEED PEOPLE TO VOLUNTEER!!! Again, let us exercise our grateful discipleship by taking it to the next level and help the poor in our area experience joy in the holiday season.

Here is what we will need:

  • Volunteers who know how to give basic haircuts for men, women, children (no professional experience needed)
  • Volunteers who will serve the guests, mingle with them, and create an atmosphere of welcome and hospitality
  • Volunteers who will help in the kitchen with the meals -Volunteers who will help at the various stations that will give out used clothing and toiletries.

We will also need donations of the following:

  • Gently used clothing especially for the winter (NO household items, please)
  • Travel-size toiletries for both men and women
  • Financial donations to cover the cost of breakfast, lunch and the “doggy bags.”

If you are interested in any of this, please let me know as soon as possible.

Fr. Tirso S. Villaverde, Jr.

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