Sacred Moment

The Providence College Campus Ministry staff recently came to My Brother’s Keeper for an afternoon of service. We split into two crews and Fr. James Cuddy, Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, Kelly Hughes, and PC summer interns, Maodo Lo and Shannon Grady, joined Dave O’Connor and me on some furniture deliveries.
Our first stop was to Lisa and her foster daughter, Caitlyn. Lisa met us outside and was very open about her struggles. She pulled up the bottom of her t-shirt and showed us a huge scar across her stomach. Major surgery had saved her life but left her disabled and in need.
Lisa and Caitlyn had little in their apartment—two air mattresses, a TV, a coffee table and a pet turtle. We brought them new beds, beautiful dressers, a recliner sofa and a kitchen set as well as dishes, linens, and pots & pans. They loved the furniture but they were especially grateful to have two priests in their apartment. “Will you please bless our home before you go?” Lisa asked. “It would be our pleasure,” replied the good fathers.
When everything had been carried in and set in place, Dave brought us all together in the living room and offered our final gift, the crucifix. “Lisa and Caitlyn,” he said. “We’re just the delivery people. This is the man who sent you the furniture.” Lisa gratefully accepted the cross and showed us where she would hang it so it could always be seen.
Fr. Cuddy then invited us all to join hands, he blessed the apartment and all who entered into it and we said the Our Father together. It was a beautiful, sacred moment.
With smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts, we moved on to our next stop just a few blocks away. We had the privilege of helping a single dad, Carlos, and his 12 year old daughter, Angel, who moved here from Puerto Rico. They’d been in their apartment for a month with nothing but two blow-up mattresses.
Angel wasn’t there but Carlos’ mom, Elizangela, was. It must have broken her heart to watch her son and granddaughter go without for so long. Carlos marveled at the quality of the furniture but it was Elizangela who couldn’t help but ‘ooh!’ and ‘aah!’ every time we brought something in. In a very short time, the empty apartment was transformed into a beautiful home.
This time, Fr. Peter Martyr offered the crucifix and our message. Carlos gratefully accepted yet it was Elizangela who seemed most touched, even though none of the furniture was for her. When she saw Jesus, she brought her hands to her face, made the sign of the cross, and tears of joy followed. As you might imagine, we gave her a crucifix too. Another sacred moment.
We carried plenty of furniture that day but it was clear we delivered something much more important: the Love and Hope of Jesus Christ.
As gratifying as these deliveries were, we have little time as a ministry to be satisfied with our work. While we were helping these two families, three people stopped us on the street to ask for help and our card. The need is just so great!