Christmas Appeal Letter 2019

Welcome to the Christmas Season! Once again, we are reaching out to you for a donation of your hard earned cash so that we can continue our Christmas Giving Program.  Every year, we tell you a story about a special moment that made all of us who were volunteering stop whatever we were doing and smile. We have come to call these “our Christmas moments.” This year I want to explain to you just how important your gift to us is, and how hard we work before we spend any of it on Christmas Read more [...]

John Johnson Memorial

It is with great sadness that we inform you all that a beloved volunteer, John, passed away last month. John was a constant fixture in The LittleStore, and the staff remember him fondly. The men and women who volunteer here and give of themselves and their time can tell you it is no easy task. There is a constant need for help here, and John filled it every week with a smile and, so often, a joke. We can tell you that John always thought of the little things. Lost screws and bolts didn’t stay Read more [...]

What Urban Missionaries Do

All I can say is, it was “a day from hell!” Usually when you get to this part of Streetlights you find a story about those we help, their struggles, problems, or dilemmas and how we helped. Well this one is about me, the Flea market, and all the things that conspired to make this day, a day we will never forget, “a day from hell” You have had days like this, everyone does, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take. Let me begin with some background material. Every Saturday, starting Read more [...]

40th Anniversary Celebration

Can you believe it? It has been forty years since that day in October 1979 when Kathy and I,  listening to Fr. Paul Tougas, director of the Permanent Diaconate Program, ask for volunteers to help in sponsoring a Vietnamese family, looked at each other and said, “Yes.”  We have been saying “yes” ever since. Now it is time for us to pause and celebrate what the Lord has done for us. In looking back, it is unbelievable the gift of grace that has poured down upon our work. It is Read more [...]

Saint Anthony’s Prayer

(Hi everyone! This is Jeffrey Hall. For a change of pace, I thought I would include an article from my point of view about my work as our Retail Operations Manager. I'm happy to share my first article on the web blog, and I hope you all enjoy!) We were in the middle of a heatwave, furiously sorting through clothes when it happened. Our back store operations employee approached me at the end of her shift, and just by the look on her face, I could tell something was wrong. “I think I lost my Read more [...]

What Urban Missionaries Do

Did you ever hear the phrase WWJD? Well, I have more times than I would care to admit. It translates to “What Would Jesus Do?” It has been used in the past to teach young adults a method of determining how they should respond to life’s issues. I used to have some fun toying with the many different answers that would come to mind when I would bump up against one of life’s little dilemmas. Over time, I thought of it less and less until it faded way back in my memory. Then along comes the Read more [...]

Christmas Giving Program 2019

Once again, I have to awaken that Christmas spirit in you, and I do know some of you are thinking, “This is way too soon!” I assure you we must be on our way, for too soon the winds will be cold and the trees barren and the signs of Christmas will begin to show. As always, we are reaching out to you for your time and money. Without both of these we cannot do Christmas. So here is the plan to date. Again this year we need: NAME TAKERS: I need volunteers to take names of the children Read more [...]

From the Director’s Chair

Well, we are coming out of our winter time and things are heating up as spring approaches. We have been busily working on a number of projects that address the growth that we have experienced over the past three years. We have re-organized our department structure, added two new outreach programs, Outreach to the Elderly and St. Stephen Housing Initiative, all while moving our computer information to “the cloud” as they say. As we look towards spring, we are planning our Summer Flea market, Read more [...]

Saint Stephen Housing Initiative

Once again we are taking on a larger than life problem, the housing of newly arrived refugees, immigrants, and asylees. Since our very beginning, we have struggled with this problem. When refugees and asylees arrive, there is a great rush to find them a place to live. As you can imagine, given that they have no job, or any other means of support, life gets difficult fast. It is very rare that landlords are willing to waive the first and last month’s rent, along with the security deposit. In Worcester, Read more [...]

Deacon Bruce R. Vidito

My first memory of Bruce is when I was studying for the diaconate program at Barlin Acres in West Boylston. He was the maintenance man. He was a hulk of a man with red hair and a broad easy smile. As time went by, I had more and more occasion to work with him on various project for my fledgling ministry. Bruce would always say yes whenever I asked for his help. After his ordination to the diaconate, I would spend time with him whenever we went to the annual diaconate retreat. I liked to sit Read more [...]

What Urban Missionaries Do

You have heard me say many times in the past, “there is no such thing as an easy day.” When Kathy and I were on vacation in early March, I received a message from the office that Cindy called and was very upset because of her 32-year-old niece had died. I immediately dialed Cindy’ number and after a few rings I heard, “Hello.” “Cindy, this is Walter Doyle calling,” I said and in a voice racked with pain and sobbing I heard, “Walt, my niece died this morning” and then I was unable Read more [...]

Macey’s Clothing Drive

February 2nd was a cold, cold day and rather quiet in the Little Store because of the cold.  Riley was on the front counter and Walter and I were in the back office. A call came in from the front counter, “There’s an enormous donation coming in, you’d better get out here!”   What we found when we ran out to the front was Macey Poitras-Cote from St. Rose of Lima parish and her parents,  Pamela and Jason, unloading 2 trucks full of clothing donations. Macey was happy to describe the Read more [...]

Groups, a blessing of the special kind

Our biggest source of volunteers far and away is from parishes and schools. It is also the biggest source of energy, noise, and fun times, not to mention the tremendous amount of work that gets done. Did I mention fun? Whenever a group comes in, we always give them a tour of the facilities and explain the work that we do. This gives rise to many questions, some easy, others difficult, but the one everyone asks is, “How long have you been doing this?” When I answer, “Forty years.” Read more [...]

Through Service, Providing Global Relief, in Worcester

(Hello everyone! We recently had a great group of super-motivated students from Assumption College come to The LittleStore to give a hand. They were great to work with, and helped out a ton. Assumption College posted an article on the visit, and why they decided to help out with the Urban Missionaries. Click the link below to read more directly on Assumptions site.) Traditional final examinations are generally held in a classroom with a proctor. For students enrolled in GLS 112: Perspectives Read more [...]

Ed’s Visit

Once again we had our visit from Ed Lee, the owner of the buildings we occupy. Ed travels from China, where his factory is, to the U.S where he makes a number of stops at his customer’s places of business, and when gets to New England he stops by here to say hello and catch up on our progress. Ed has been a benefactor for our ministry ever since he donated monies to help us purchase our truck ten years ago. Since that time, he purchased the buildings we currently use, helped us purchase our Read more [...]

It’s a Fish Story

(We have had so many compliments on our fish tank, that we decided to offer another perspective on how we got it! Many of you have read Walter's take on the installation and purpose of our fish tank, so it's time to hear Kathy's thoughts on it!) Well, a fish tank story.  If you really want to know, it’s a love story.  It began as a sad story last March when our grandson, Gregory, lost his 51-year-old father to the flu. It was sudden and shocking to all his family. It was tragic, and without Read more [...]

Death Comes A-Knocking

The month of October was not very kind to us. We have had a cousin, a brother deacon, and a flea market brother die. The loss of these three has left us saddened because the thread that was holding us together has been cut. Joan Callinan My cousin Joan passed away from cancer of the brain. I had the privilege to be with her just two weeks before she passed. She was barely recognizable from the ravages of the cancer, but her indomitable spirit was alive and well. We shared some memories and Read more [...]

The Fast of Hermas

Fasting With the shepherd of Hermas

So many of you have made your Lenten offerings by donating to the Fast of Hermas.  It’s been a great help to us.  This year, upon medical advice, I am unable to fast but we’re asking you to continue the spirit of the Fast of Hermas, possibly fast a little yourself, and keep our Lenten appeal in mind.

Hermas was an early Christian, who resided in Rome early in the second century of the Christian Era. A well-to-do freedman, Hermas set down a formula Read more [...]

First night – Our First Night, That is.

Most of you know about our annual Christmas Giving program and what happens when we open up the the doors. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, let me fill you in.

In years gone by, Ken Ricardi and I would get to 242 Canterbury at 4:00 A.M. We would sit, have a cup of coffee, and speculate how many others would be waiting when we lifted the overhead door. Some years there would be two, or three, or five mothers standing outside our front door waiting for us to open. This year was a little Read more [...]

This is a Christmas Story of Another Color

Anyone who has been following this ministry, knows that Christmas is our biggest thrill. Did you know, however, that over the years we have developed some very particular traditions? One of them is our annual bag party. That’s right a bag party, and it does get somewhat raucous.

Ok, let me explain. You know that each of the bags of gifts we pass out each year has a label on it that identifies a special boy or girl. Have you ever thought about how that bag label gets on the bag, all 2,200 of Read more [...]