If you've come to Mass at St. Josaphat during Lent, you have heard the word "Almoners" tossed around. After communion every week, a special collection was taken for the Almoners program, and after Mass, everyone was invited to take as many McDonald's or Dunkin' Donuts $5 Gift Cards to hand out to as many of the homeless people during the week.

Almoner is a middle English word, coming from Medieval Latin through Old French, meaning "one who is responsible for distributing alms." The word has fallen out of use in the U.S., but thankfully, here at St. Josaphat the action hasn't. 1180 Gift Cards were distributed to hundreds of homeless people on the streets of Chicago. $6,637.08 was collected, and in addition to the Gift Cards, we will be able to feed the homeless that come to our door for 3 weeks! Wow!

It is easy to turn a blind eye, and pass judgment on the homeless people we see on the street. We can easily disapprove of how people choose to live their lives, or spend their funds, seemingly letting us off the hook for helping them. But, to steal a phrase, "What would Jesus do?" This story from the Chicago Tribune provides some insights to this line of thinking.

Of course, in giving, there is always an impact to the giver, as evidenced by some of our St. Josaphat almoners:

"When I told him that the gift card was for $5 at McDonald's he got a big smile and said that I had just made his day because he will be able to take his kids, Billy and Francine, to McDonald's for a special treat."

"I was on the el with an older gentleman and it was clear people were giving him a wide berth. After I handed him the gift card, he said "God Bless You. God has just answered my prayers. I know if I pray long enough and hard enough he hears me."

"I was driving West on Fullerton near Elston when the car in front of me, with a St. Josaphat School bumper sticker, stopped and handed a gift card to the homeless person begging in the street. I was never so proud to be part of St. Josaphat Parish!"

"Because of the Almoners Program, I have tried to make it a habit to greet the homeless people as I walk past. One gentleman thanked me for saying hello as no one had acknowledged him for the whole day."

"I always wondered how to help the homeless on the street. I used to carry granola bars until someone told me that in many cases they are too tough to eat. I have now started keeping a stash of $5 gift cards in my glove box."

Deacon Pat, who coordinated the Almoners Program this year, would like to thank everyone who contributed, everyone who passed out Almoners cards after Mass, and everyone who distributed them to the needy. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS!
Important Upcoming Dates!

Wednesday, April 13 - Ministry & Mercy: A Minister's Evening of Renewal

Friday, April 15 - SJAA Pasta Dinner 

June 13 - 17 - VBS: Cave Quest

Thursday, March 24th 
7:30 pm Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper 
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament follows until 10:00 pm 

Friday, March 25th 
9:00 am Morning Prayer 
3:00 pm Church open for private stations and prayer 7:30 pm Service of the Lord's Passion, including Proclamation of the Passion, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion 

Saturday, March 26th 
9:00 am Morning Prayer
12:00 Noon Blessing of Easter Baskets 
7:30 pm Mass of the Easter Vigil, including Service of Light, Liturgy of the Word, Blessing of the New Water, Baptisms, Reception of new members, Confirmation, and Eucharist 

Sunday, March 27th
Renewal of Baptismal Promises at all Masses 
8:00 am Mass
10:00 am Mass
Easter Egg Hunt in Community Park immediately after Mass for children 5 and under
12:00 Noon Mass
VBS: Cave Quest
Monday - Friday
June 13 - 17 2016

Save the date and get ready for Vacation Bible School!