Changes

There is a time for all things and now is a time of change in our ministry family. It is both a happy time because we are welcoming Jeff Hall as our Little Store operations manager and Riley Smith as our Saturday counter clerk, and a sad time because we are saying goodbye to Marielis Manzueta, who has been our LittleStore clerk for the past year.

Jeff Hall

Jeff was volunteering for us at the Saint Paul Outreach – Food Pantry on Saturday mornings for a little over one year while he was working part time at the Worcester Art Museum and Quinsigamond Community College. Jeff’s primary interest is publishing and while he is trying to break into that field, he thought he would try his hand at management. When he approached us concerning the Little Store manager’s position we were somewhat hesitant, but after interviewing him we knew we had a match. Jeff joined us May 18, 2018 and jumped right into the fray. He is learning the ropes as they say, as well as all of the volunteers that help out every week. As an aside, we also have Jeff working on the publishing of StreetLights. The August edition will be his first and we have plans for him to help us out with some additional publishing projects. So when you stop in say hello to Jeff!!

 

 

 

Marielis Manzueta

Marielis joined us as the Little Store counter clerk just over one year ago. Our then store manager Harry Duchesne said to me, “I think I found the right person for the job on the counter.” “How do you know?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “I just got off the phone with one of her references and when I told her that we were going to hire Marielis she exclaimed, ‘Oh no, I knew I was going to lose her!’ Why asked Harry, because she is such a great worker and very dependable and always smiling, but we had to lay her off for the summer and I was hoping I could hire her back in the fall.’”

Marielis lived up to her reputation as a hard worker, very dependable, always smiling and even more. She learned her job quickly and was always ready to pitch in whenever she was needed. Her customer handling skills are superb and since she left on June 8, 2018, all we hear whenever someone comes into the store is, “Where is Marielis?”

We really enjoyed getting to know her while she worked here, especially her insights into the Spanish community.

Riley Smith

Please welcome Riley. He is our Saturday counter clerk. He started in May and is working on his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Clark University. Riley has settled into our routine very quickly and has conquered the myriad of rules for the counter clerk quickly. We are grateful to have him on our normally busy Saturdays, where he works very diligently and helps everyone who comes through the doors. He brings an enthusiasm to every personal contact he has at the counter. We are hoping he will be with us for awhile.

The Director’s Chair

It is that time of year when we make our annual appeals for volunteers and for new sustainer enrollments. I know I have been beating this drum for a long, long time, and I am wondering if I haven’t put you to sleep. Or maybe it is just me getting old!  But without either of these two really important tools, volunteers and sustainers, we are seriously hobbled in what we can do to address the needs of “the least, the last, and the left out.”  And addressing them is a  must, with whatever resources are at our disposal.  Even if we can only offer prayers, we must.

When it comes to volunteers, we get our fair share of people who are willing to work a shift at the food pantry or come out at Christmas for a 4 hour shift. And we thank God for them every day because they are the lifeblood of our programs. Up until now Kathy and I have been supplying the leadership required to manage all of the programs currently offered by the ministry. Unfortunately we are starting to sag under the burden these programs require and we’re worried that we will have to stop some of them.

This is not a unique problem for our ministry. It happens not only to ministries, but to businesses, nonprofits, and educational organizations. We have built  programs around needs that we identified by working our little corner of the Lord’s world. As we need to wind down because of age and health we need to make sure we continue to keep our priorities straight.  As we have stated before they are God, us, family, job, and ministry. As many of you know we have a large family, 5 children and 13 grandchildren and our obligations to them are increasing as the grandchildren get older. Kathy and I both are at a stage in our lives that requires more of our time be spent on health maintenance, doctors, exercising, and resting.

So with all of this going on we have decided to make some changes in our lives. The first thing is that I will retire from the Diaconate, effective June 6, 2018. What this means is that although I will still have faculties to perform my liturgical duties I will not be assigned to a particular parish, have requirements for continuing education, or required to attend  an annual retreat.  I am also going to limit my involvement in the Knights of Columbus which takes up to 5 to 20 hours a month. We are closing down the following programs in the ministry, Fill-A-Truck,  Day of Prayerful Work, and Fast of Hermas. It is our hope that by reigning in these demands on our time we will be better able to continue on with demands of the ministry.

We are also actively looking for people to take on managerial roles for the Food Distribution and Giving Tree Programs. Both of these programs require a part-time manager each. These programs are mature in their goals and objectives as well as staffing and procedures. The duties are scheduling, recruiting volunteers, training, policy and procedure maintenance, and helping out whenever necessary. For the Food Distribution Program, we see a 5 hour a week commitment and for the Christmas Giving Program it would require a fair amount of time in December, but very little from January to June.

We understand that to take on such a responsibility one would need to really believe in the program as a ministry. We are here to  help train and fill in whenever we would be needed, so that a new manager would not have to stand alone but would be part of our management team.

Our sustainer drive

It is spring and that means it is time for our sustainer drive. This year we have the opportunity to tell you about  Irene L. Healy, a sustainer extraordinaire.

Over the years, I have introduced many of my parents’ friends to our StreetLight readers. There was Ma, Auntie Freddie, Mary K, and now there is Irene Healy. Each of these individuals has had a profound effect on me personally, as well as on this ministry.  Each of them was entertained by my mother’s and father’s stories about their wayward son who is doing these little acts of charity in a place called, “Wister,” wherever that is!

Irene and her husband, John, were travel companions of my mother and father to the Boston Carmen’s Union conventions, held every two years in different cities in the U.S. and Canada.  When my folks came home from the conventions, they would always tell us about the wonderful times they had with the Healy’s and would leave us laughing about their adventures together.  

It has to be over twenty years ago that we started receiving generous donations, on a regular basis, from Irene. I would call it our “just in time” donation because it always seemed that when the ministry had its back against the wall financially,  Irene’s check would suddenly appear. Because of this, Kathy and I developed our own relationship with Irene and she even made the trip from the Cape to visit with her daughter, Joan. We gave her a tour of the store and described what programs we had going. She would patiently listen to us and at the end of the visit she would always offer us words of encouragement and the checks would keep on coming. Then all of a sudden we started receiving checks from Irene’s daughter, Joan, and we thought about the apple not falling far from the tree.

Irene passed away on December 12, 2017 at the age of 98. We have included the full text of the eulogy given by her daughter Kate simply because it describes well  who Irene Healy was.

Celebration of Mom’s Life (Use by Permission)

Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us today to celebrate the life our Mom. She was Irene as well as Mom, Nana Healy, Aunt Irene, a sister and a treasured friend to many. She was also wonderful wife to John Crowley and John Healy. When we think of her, we think about her strong faith, her positive attitude, and her generosity towards others.  Those three qualities are difficult to maintain throughout one’s life, but she was able to do that for 98 years.

Our Mom was born on December, 6, 1919 in North Cambridge and lived there for many years. She graduated from St. John’s High School and then began working full time in Boston as well as attending Burdett College at night for two years. In those days she was considered to have a flair for fashion making many of her own clothes, including her wedding dress, and she continued that way throughout her life. She met our Dad and they married on July 4, 1944 while he was in WWII and when he returned they began having many children, and more children, and more children. Eight of us in all. Our Mom didn’t have an easy life in those days raising all us kids with little money, but we always had what we needed. She taught us right from wrong and to try and get along with each other. She was a woman of strong faith and that is what got her through the ups and downs of her daily life. Her faith in God was unwavering no matter what happened. She instilled in all of us that we needed faith in order to get through life and that it was something to be respected. We went to Catholic schools, we went to church, and we prayed. That’s what we did at our house with our Mom.

In 1968, our parents were able to buy their first home and we moved to Arlington. In 1970, our Dad passed away suddenly and our mom had just turned 50, and had us eight kids at home. She had started working for the The New England Telephone Company in Boston, an with the help of older siblings taking care of us younger ones, she was able to work full-time to provide for us. And work she did. She worked so hard for so many years to make sure we had what we needed. Education was important to her for us to have, and she told us to work hard in school always, and then our education would help us to succeed in life. No matter what happened, she always remained positive about things and kept forging ahead and told us to do the same.  

The next year in her life, 1971, she had two things happen, one good and one not so good. First the good, Our Aunt Marion and Uncle Jim and their friends Claire and Dave Maloney, introduced our Mom to their friend John Healy, who was a widower, and they began dating. John was the kindest, loving man to our Mom and all of us. Who goes on a second date with a woman who has eight kids?! Later the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had her surgery and fought through it all and was a survivor. Again, her faith in Jesus and the Blessed Mother played an important role of her getting through that. Remaining positive and moving forward is what she did.

A few years later our Mom and John married and we gained a wonderful sister, Kate, as well. Our Mom and John had many wonderful years together and they worked hard, but travelled and enjoyed  life when they could. They had many good friends who shared these good times with them. Then when she was 70, John passed away and she continued her life as a widow for a second time. She had retired to Harwich at that point, and began to be involved in this church, and joined the Association of Sacred Hearts group, and for the next almost thirty years was active volunteering with them.  As she was gifted seamstress as well, she did a lot of sewing for the annual summer fair held here at church. At this time, she also joined an exercise group at the community center and continued with that up until this year as well. She never stopped. Even as she aged and became elderly, she kept busy all the time and fortunately she had her health so she could. Another favorite group that she joined was the Red Hats, and she enjoyed their social activities, She lived in her home alone, drove and attended daily Mass for many years into her 80’s.

Throughout her life she maintained a balance between her family, work and friends and she seemed to do it with ease, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy at all for her. Her generosity extended to many including her family, her co-workers, and her friends. If you needed help, she was there for you. She enjoyed her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and did her best to keep in touch with all that each of them was doing. She was so proud of all us and if you needed any wisdom or experience passed on, she was there for you.

I would like to close with an example of how our Mom lived, as this memory has stayed with me all these years. When I was a child probably 10 or 11 years old, our Mom worked for the phone company on Franklin St. in Boston. She had a lunch hour from 12-1 each day and just before noon, she would leave her office and walk down to the Arch Street Chapel for the daily Mass. And I remember when I found out that she did this, I said to her, ”Don’t you ever just want to eat your lunch, relax and then do your errands for us?” And she replied, “Well, the daily Mass there is short, only 15-18 minutes so I go to that, and then I stop at the store If I need to, and I eat my lunch last. And this is how our Mom lived. God and family before herself.

 


On April 19, 2018 Kathy and I had a visit from Joan and Kate. When Joan emailed us that she would like to stop by we thought that she and Kate were on their way to someplace else and decided to see if we were available. It was like meeting old friends after a long time, hugs and greeting all around. Joan had only seen the outside of the building on a prior visit with Irene. We were not tenants at that time, but knew that the building would be available to us once the closing took place. So when Joan walked in and saw what we had done to the place she was truly pleased and commented on how nice the store looked. We then took Joan and and Kate on a tour of the upstairs where we do Christmas Giving program and our meditation room. They were both surprised to see how big upstairs is and how we were using it for our Christmas Giving program.

As we were coming down stairs Kate asked if we could go to where the meeting room was. I lead us into our conference area and we all sat down. Joan said, “Irene has left you something in her will and we wanted to give it to you today. Kate is the executor of the estate.” This is when I noticed Kate fumbling through her pocketbook trying to pull out her checkbook and pen all the while talking to us. She told us that Irene had left us some money and then quickly wrote out a check and slid it across the table upside down. I took the check and turn it over rolled my eyes at Kate and immediately put it back down on the table and slide it over to Kathy. When she picked up the check I saw her rock in her chair. At this both Joan and Kate started to laugh. Kathy immediately slid the check back to me and I started to laugh. The check was for $10,000.

Joan then told us this story about her mother. One year Joan decided to give her mother a goat via Habitat of Humanity for a Christmas present. She made sure that all the materials that explained the gift and how it would be used were included in the card so Irene would understand the gift. After a few months when Joan and Irene were alone Irene said to Joan, “I want to thank you for the gift of the goat, but you know those big charities have lots of money and I would prefer that if you make a donation in my name send it to Kathy and Walter’s Urban Missionaries, they don’t have lots of money and they can use it.” When Joan said this a light in my head immediately went on, so that’s why we started receiving regular donations from Joan!

Joan went on to tell us that she did the very same thing to her daughter when her daughter bought her a Christmas gift along the lines of the goat Joan purchased for her mother. And Joan, after a few months, took her daughter aside and said to her, “Thank you very much for the Christmas gift, but you know those big companies have lots of money and I would prefer that if you make a gift in my name that you make a donation to Kathy and Walter’s Urban Missionaries, they don’t have lots of money and they can use it.” By now were were all laughing and we spent the next hour sharing stories about our parents and how they taught us to be generous with the gifts God has given us. And then it was time to say good-bye and we agreed that Joan and Kate would come back with more family members and we would do lunch and continue on with the sharing  of our parents lives and what the ministry was up to.

After Kate and Joan left Kathy and I just looked at each other. We were shaken. I spent the remainder of the day pondering the question, “Why does God continue to bless us so? Why?”

To become a sustainer please visit our website at  https://secure.etransfer.com/EFT/BlockCode/donation1.cfm?d2org=UMOLH&d2tool=donation

If you encounter any issues please contact our office at 508-831-7455

Westborough Public Library Purse Giveaway

Once again, our friends at the Westborough Public Library included the Little Store as one of their distribution locations for their annual “Gently Used Pocketbooks and Purses” program. These purses and pocketbooks are packed with various new items, ranging from hand sanitizer to rain hats to umbrellas, that the women find very useful. We gave them away at Easter time, and this year we distributed 100 pocketbooks and purses to customers of the Little Store. They actually were distributed in record time, as Marielis, who works the front counter, described the stream of women coming to the store, “My friend told me to come for a free Easter gift,” or, “I heard you were giving away free purses!” General excitement all around!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the second year that Westborough Public Library has included us in this lovely outreach, and we certainly have fun with it. Thank you to Maureen Ambrosino, the Director of the library and to our good friend, Judy Wilchynski, for including us in this lovely outreach.

 

Our Spring Fling Flea Market

Our Spring Fling Flea Market will be kicking off on Saturday, May 18, 2018 at 7:00 a.m. Our goal is to have a flea market every Saturday until the last Saturday in September, which is the 28th. Yes, we know this is a very aggressive goal, but we have to clean out as much stock stored in the shed as possible before Christmas.  To make matters a little more difficult we are going to be calling on you and yours for help in making this happen.

 

Where: Our Lady of Hope Center, 242 Canterbury Street, Worcester MA 01603

When: Every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Time: Dealer arrival 7:00 a.m.

          General Public 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Flea market will be held in our back parking lot. We are planning refreshments such as coffee, tea, water, soda, donuts, hamburgers and hotdogs etc.

Dealer information

  •        All dealers selling family appropriate items are welcome.     
  •        Space rental is $15 for an 8 foot table, $10 for each additional table.
  •        Space reservations must be made 1 week in advance.   
  •        Payment is made upon entry onto Our Lady of Hope Center property.

We estimate that we will have enough tables for 75 dealers plus our own set of tables and this will not interfere with customer parking.  The gates will open for dealers at 7:00 a.m. to allow them to set up, and at 8:00 a.m. we will let customers in.

As always, we need some help, especially from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Please let us know when you are coming, how long you can stay, and how many volunteers you will bring. Contact us at mailbox@urbanmissionaries.com or 508-831-7455.