Holy Family has been hosting an annual Spaghetti Dinner and raffle for the past 10 years in North Java. The Spaghetti Dinner is schedule for this Sunday, October 18H starting at 11:30. However, due to the Covid-19 virus, I received information from Steven Perkins, the Wyoming County Director of Environmental Services, that we could not host any eat-in event but “take out” only according to county health regulations. The safety of our parishioners is the most important priority and the parish committee decided that we would offer our parishioners and their friends “take out” only and cancel our in-house basket raffle to keep our community safe.
To prepare for this event, we asked our parishioners to make advance reservations so that our Executive Chef, Sandy Janes and her church volunteer crew, would know how many homemade meatballs to prepare in advance.
We mailed 1400 invitations to homes in several local towns to invite residents to join us for our annual celebration. On the day of the event, 338 dinners were served in 90 minutes by 20 volunteers. Then later in the day, another email was circulating that an anonymous donor had ordered 125 dinners to be donated to poor families in our Wyoming County area.
Kari Sears, the Director of Angel Action, was contacted to help in this effort and she put together a list of families in need and that the agency would arrange distribution of the dinners to their homes by their volunteers. On Saturday, October 17th at 10 am, Sandy Janes, has requested volunteers to come to the North Java Fire Department to help prepare salads and package cookies for the event.
What started as an annual fund raiser for the parish that normally would have brought locals together to share a meal and offer their donated raffle baskets had been transformed into a county community wide event to help feed the poor of our community. Instead of surrendering to the fear and uncertainty of this pandemic, one person of faith had sparked this parish into action to be a sign of hope and hospitality knowing that we are not all in the same boat. Many families are unemployed, others are alone and isolated and we are all feeling frustrated and worried that we fall victim to this deadly virus. Sadly, the number of both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of the disease in the United States has reached almost 7.7 million with over 213,00 deaths reported among those cases.
We are a resilient community where wearing a mask and practicing social distance is a sign that we truly care about our neighbor. This invitation to come and take a dinner to a hurting family who feels frustrated and exhausted by the past seven months is a sign of hope that is needed to persevere during these uncertain times. You will know that we are Christians by our love is a familiar hymn sung by many faith communities that expresses our faith to reflect the love of God for all people.
As shepherd of this dynamic Catholic community that welcome all especially anyone who feels uncomfortable coming to any church, know that you are in our prayers and welcomed always. The people of Holy Family practice social distance and wear masks at all their Sunday celebration but since March our worship services have gone virtual and over 25,000 people have clicked onto the parish website to pray with us. Every Sunday we Zoom and record our Mass celebrations. You can find us online at http://holyfamilyncchurch.org