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! JosaFAST: Stories from the Almoners (constantcontact.com)