Not so long ago, in 2018, an article appeared in the New Your Times that featured the Kensington section of Philadelphia. The article, entitled, “Trapped by the ‘Walmart of Heroin’: A Philadelphia neighborhood is the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the East Coast. Addicts come from all over, and many never leave” featured the haunting image of drug users under a bridge along Kensington Avenue. While we are all dealing with a pandemic, job changes, and family adjustment issues, the people who call Kensington ‘home’ are still in crisis.
So, what does this have to do with Saint Miriam, and perhaps more importantly, with you? Well, everything. You see, Saint Miriam has continued to serve this population, despite the pandemic, despite restrictions on deliveries and support; despite the difficulty in receiving and finding donation of goods and funding, we have served and increased our services and expanded our ability to those in need. In other words, when the world needed more, we gave more. And, not from our abundance, but from our own need, too. Why? Because we are Catholics and we love and give more, even when it is particularly difficult. Simply: it is what we do!
We just launched our new website (www.SaintMiriamBlessingBags.org) for our outreach program. It has garnered so much praise and news lately, but the real winners are those we help and support. That is where our blessing comes from, too.
This is why I am writing today, we are almost to our goal, BUT we have a long way to go! So far, over 110 people have taken the time to sponsor and added a memorial or honor designation. BUT, the most important thing they did was allow us to complete this stunning renovation WITHOUT taking from our budget or taking another bank loan, which would have hurt us and our ability to remain a parish. It also would have ended our outreach, too.
I will be blunt. If we don’t get to our goal, we will have a beautiful Sanctuary, but we will have to cut expenses, staff or other areas. We may even eliminate outreach and surely, we will need to end or postpone our plans for the Kensington Outreach Center. I can think of few things that would be sadder.
I made you a few promises back in January. I would lead us through the renovation and enrich our space and life with no capital campaign if you only me and sponsored a chair or two. I did not know that our renovation also would be so prophetically needed. But it is allowing us to return safely as well. Now, I need you to join me. As always, I join you in the effort and my family and I have sponsored SIX chairs so far. Now I need you to sponsor at least one, and by doing so we will all join together and be a stronger parish of love and hope.
Please, today, help me get over the finish line and in a fiscally strong way. Please!