The day began with Father DeBruycker and Padre Isidoro concelebrating 8am mass. Afterwards, the delegation and parishioners all joined in a special breakfast prepared by Mary Ahler of the Sister Parish committee. The delegates had a chance to tour Parish Center offices and meet staff before setting out for the day.
This morning’s community visit was with Casa Esperanza, an organization striving to end domestic violence. First we toured “El Refugio,” a shelter where 5 women and 10 children currently live in safety from violence. It was a quick visit to minimize the impact on daily living activities. Then we went to the central offices of Casa Esperanza where director Rosario de la Torre spoke in Spanish to the delegates about the variety of services they now provide to increase the health of families and minimize violence in communities. She gave the delegates some ideas and resources they can use to enhance programs they provide for families in Tierra Nueva.
After lunch at Maria’s Café, a delightful Columbian restaurant, the group went to Knox Presbyterian Church to spend the afternoon with Mobile Loaves & Fishes. The delegates had requested a chance to be part of hands-on community and volunteer activities that are important to St Joan of Arc parishioners -- and today they were in the midst of it! They made sandwiches, helped load the truck, and set out on the evening round of visiting with people living precariously. The first stop was near Franklin and 5th Ave. The delegates jumped right in and handed out sandwiches, fruit, and other food. There were several people who spoke only Spanish and they were appreciative of the opportunity to speak together. The second stop was at the Salvation Army where they were happy to see us. Our food, socks and toiletries were gone quickly. After returning to Knox, we all shared the same simple supper we had handed out from the truck.
This was a full day. After seeing two programs that are working hard to improve the health of local communities, the delegates were left with much to think about.
Karen Waldron & Louise Eidsmoe