In celebration and commemoration of Pope Francis’s declaration of this year being the Year of Consecrated Life, the National Religious Vocations Conference Region 3 hosted an inter-congregational day of service on Sunday, May 3rd in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.
Sisters from eight religious congregations and young adults were invited to join each other in serving communities in need of some TLC and what a beautiful day we had!
We kicked off the day at 11 a.m. with a gathering at Community Center at Visitation where we had a lovely “sending forth” with our groups to our respective worksites. The air was palpable with excitement for what the day was to hold for each of us.
When I signed up for the event, I really had no idea what kind of impact we were going to have on the communities in which we were going to be serving. [However, due to the cadre of volunteers] La Salle Academy now has fresh, new ground murals of the United States and the world, a new foursquare court, and a beautiful hopscotch court. Several local churches have fresh coats of paint on their walls and doors and the Providence Center has a charming community garden.
I had the great honor of floating from worksite to worksite, taking photos of what was being done at each place. Leaving each site, my heart was filled with joy and gratitude to be able to witness the good work that was being done with a shared objective – to permeate each location with the insurmountable love, joy, and hope of Jesus. Throughout the day, a verse from the book of Matthew kept coming to mind – “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” What a privilege to serve alongside Jesus.
Around 3:00 p.m., we once again gathered at the Community Center at Visitation for pizza, snacks, and group sharing. The room buzzed with enthusiastic chatter as each person described their individual experiences from the day. Throughout the time of sharing, there existed a common thread of beauty seen in these communities that have been hit so hard by poverty; beauty in the people they encountered, beauty in the sites themselves, and beauty in the experience of service. Each reflection contained not only pride in the work that had been done, but a sense of privilege to have been a part of it all. With humble gratitude, I can say that I am so very blessed to have had this opportunity to serve alongside so many beautiful servants of the Lord. What a privilege, indeed! ~ submitted by CMC missioner Ashley Block