by Trevor Thompson
Director of Pastoral Ministries
Before coming to Raleigh, I coordinated a soup-kitchen in a small town in western New York called the Warming House. After many afternoons sitting with those most in need, I became increasingly convinced that the hungers of the “rich” and “poor” are more similar than different. Between all of us fragile human beings stand walls built on loneliness and the absence of God, walls built on fear—fear of rejection, fear of not succeeding, fear of not being understood. Ultimately, whether rich or poor, what we all most hunger for is not bread or soup but meaningful relationships. We all long for genuine friendship, a table that welcomes us as we are, a place to let our walls of fear crumble. This is my understanding of what Jesus gave his body and blood for. I believe this hunger for welcome and belonging brought many to the daily table at the Warming House, and for most of us, it is what brings us to the Eucharistic table here at St. Francis. This is the “bread come down from heaven.”
I am aware, however, that there are many in our midst who long for this “living bread” but are not at the table. Many feel excluded; some have never been invited; and others fear the vulnerability of sitting down and sharing a meal with someone they don’t know or like. Sharing a meal with someone with whom we hold a grudge or someone we’ve demonized is a messy affair. Today, I’m even more deeply aware of the many parishioners who have a deep longing to feel a connection to our parish, to have companions on the journey, and to feel nourished by meaningful relationships, but who are not able to come to the table on a given Sunday because of sickness, hospitalization, lack of transportation, or confinement to their home. I am so thankful to the volunteer parishioners who bring them the Eucharist and the love and welcome of our parish on a weekly basis. These Eucharist ministries assure us that no matter what—rich or poor, able or disabled, young or old, mobile or immobile—we are indeed one Body in Christ and we do not stand alone.
We bring the Holy Eucharist to those who cannot attend Sunday liturgies at St. Francis: the homebound, hospitalized and residents of retirement communities and nursing homes such as Abbotswood, Magnolia Glen, the Meadows, and Springmoor.
If you know of someone who needs a visit, or if you would like to volunteer for one of these ministries, contact Jackie Adamo or Trevor Thompson at 919-847-8205.