It was May when Sisters Dorena Gonzalez and Mary Catherine Fodrocy were inspired to attend the Who is My Neighbor? series at St. Alphonsus Parish. The series is about real people, real stories, and real life and was created to bring deeper understanding about people, life circumstances, and world views. Since then, both Sisters’ fellowship with this parish community has grown.
There is no better description than Emboldened by faith, Serving with joy if one is to characterize Sr. Dorena’s and Sr. Mary Catherine’s experiences.
They have been attending Sunday Liturgy at St. Alphonsus. They volunteer the second Tuesday of every month at Northeast Supper House. And they assist when the Feeding America West Michigan Food Truck comes to the neighborhood.
Northeast Supper House serves hundreds of people each week, every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 228 Carrier NE in the school cafeteria.
Northeast Supper House is a service provided by several churches who financially support it and whose members volunteer to provide free hot nutritious meals to neighbors in need. Most guests live in the Creston and other near downtown neighborhoods.
They gather for dinner and community. The meal is served restaurant style from 5:00-6:30 pm on Tuesday evenings at St. Alphonsus Parish Center in the heart of the Creston neighborhood.
Srs. Dorena and Mary Catherine, with other volunteers, serve the beverages and the meal, clear the table for dessert, serve the dessert, and then clean up. Families with children, single parents with children, couples, and single men and women are served in a manner that is friendly, hospitable, and respectful.
The Sisters describe their ministries as an opportunity for them to meet and get to know and better understand the experience of some of the guests who struggle to meet daily needs. It is an expression of love and concern for the poor. “It is personal participation in the direct service foot of the two feet of Christian Service. The other foot of Christian Service is in participation in the work our Community does for structural change,” says Sr. Mary Catherine.
The Food Truck from Feeding America West Michigan is a mobile food pantry hosted by St. Alphonsus Church on its parking lot the first Tuesdays of the month March through November. A variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and baked good are available for people in need to choose what they would like.
Along with a team of volunteers, Srs. Dorena and Mary Catherine take the food off the truck, arrange it on tables, assist those choosing their produce, and pack anything left over for distribution through the neighborhood food pantry. “About 80-100 households benefit from the availability of healthy, perishable food items,” says Sr. Dorena.
Who or what inspires you to serve? Share your story. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Stacy Spitler, 616.514.3455