Good Shepherd Blog

Welcoming the poor in the Good Shepherd dining room

In one of his first appearances as Pope, Francis said, “How I wish for a poor Church, a church for the poor!”

When he speaks of the poor, Francis embraces those who are impoverished by age, loneliness, social isolation, disabilities, illness, and addiction.

In the dining room at Good Shepherd, we also extend this embrace. We provide the food. We also provide the welcome, the company, the family.

One guest makes sure to say, “See you tonight!” as he leaves the morning drop-in. That means he will return at 2 o’clock for his main meal. How often do we leave our homes and say, “See you tonight,” and not even think about it? But this man has no-one else. Only at Good Shepherd does he know he will be expected and welcomed.

God, Pope Francis reminds us, has a “certain weak spot of love for those who are lost or have strayed furthest from him.” And God doesn’t keep the lost sheep separate from the flock when they return. He returns them in all their dignity, and it makes Him joyful. Our God is a God of life and of joy.

In that Spirit of life and joy, we work to make the dining room at Good Shepherd a place of welcome, of dignity.

For many who come to us, it is enough that we keep the door open and the coffee hot. Some people come for years and we do not know their name or their story.

But for many others, Good Shepherd’s dining room is a place of warmth, laughter, friendship. There is the dignity of belonging.

Once, a guest apologized for being away for months. She said she missed us because “You accept me just as I am.” She was back, and we rejoiced.

 

 

 


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