St. Mary’s Parish Hosts 23 Guests During Winter Relief Week
St. Mary’s Parish completed its Winter Relief week during which, 23 homeless men and women were hosted and provided with a warm and loving environment.
It was especially gratifying to see volunteers going out of their way to help guests and to see so many occasions when guests and volunteers were together talking, eating, or playing games. St. Mary's priests joined the guests every day. After spending the evening with the guests one night, St. Mary’s pastor, Father Pat Woods, said that looking over the room he couldn't tell who was a volunteer and who was a guest—a wonderful tribute to the inclusiveness of the week. St. Mary’s received a number of comments of appreciation from guests that they really enjoyed the meals provided and liked being at St. Mary's. One guest said, “This has been such a nice week, I hate to leave.”
More than 250 St. Mary’s parishioners provided food for the meals, staple pantry items, and staffed the shifts during the evening, late at night and in the early morning throughout the week. St. Mary’s Hispanic community specifically provided dinner and staffing on Friday. One parishioner provided an envelope with a cash donation for each guest, several parishioners as well as the Catholic Daughters and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, provided gift cards for guests. Some of these were given as prizes for bingo and some were distributed to each guest as they left St. Mary's. St. Mary’s Facility Department set up for Winter Relief and was there to provide support every day. Several volunteers washed, dried and folded the linens after guests had left so that linens would be ready for next year.
In addition, St. Mary's Elementary School students, teachers and administrators collected a large donation that was used to help meet specific needs important for each guest. Elementary School teachers and administrators and Home and School Association parents made and delivered bag lunches every day. The Catholic Daughters joined guests and hosted bingo one night. The St. Mary's High School Youth Group members each made beautiful blankets for guests, joined to serve dinner that they had prepared, organized bingo and joined guests during and after dinner.
Some parishioners provided evening entertainment, others brought entertainment by groups with which they were associated and some arranged for the donation of cable TV service for the week. St. Mary’s Ranger Rosary group provided rosaries for guests, the St. Mary's knitting ministry donated hand knitted hat and scarf sets, a parishioner gave professional manicures to all guests who wanted one, and several parishioners purchased and donated warm winter hats, socks and coats.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society organized and provided leadership for St. Mary’s Winter Relief efforts. Thank you to the entire parish for doing God's work through Winter Relief.
St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.