Hello Father Ray,
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in The Law of the Gift. Like you suggested, I prayed over this wonderful gift and how it could be shared.
I play in a community band in the city of Castro Valley and for several years during Advent we have played a Christmas concert for the parishioners of St. Louis Bertrand Catholic Church in Oakland. We played our concert in their church on Wednesday, December 15th and I was again moved by the welcoming spirit the congregation showed us. We played a variety of songs including many Christmas songs in which the congregation was encouraged to sing. The audience members thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and they were very appreciative with their applause and smiles during and after the concert. The enthusiasm and warmth of the church is just like our community here at St. Joan’s. They even treated us to a home-made tamale dinner after the concert.
The congregation at St. Louis Bertrand is like ours. There are young families, single people, couples, and more mature folks as well. All of them are filled with the Holy Spirit and love the Lord just as we do here.
The only difference I sensed is that their church is not in the same financial situation as ours. When I returned home that evening, I said to my wife Karen “I would like to give that church a gift. We receive so much from them that I would like to reciprocate”. We thought about it for several days and then the Holy Spirit presented the opportunity to us in The Law of the Gift which I received from you at Mass on January 2nd.
I reached out to members of my family who also play in the band with my idea of returning the gift we receive from St. Louis Bertrand with a cash donation to their church. Several joined in and we pooled our money to multiply several times over the seed money I received from you. I delivered our gift to their Site Administrator who coordinates the concerts. He reiterated his thanks to the band for bringing his church community closer together and suggested that we helped and inspired their community to greater fellowship. I’m not sure if they have a stated mission as we do but together both churches truly exemplify
“Being Christ for Others as Christ is for Us”.
Thanks again for this opportunity,