Dear ISLC Community,
This past Easter, we shared in the joy of our sanctuary family receiving a new home in a 2-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. This would not have been possible without the incredible support of concerned parishioners who made calls to friends and made connections to local NGOs, who searched for housing, who generously donated time, meals, household items, furniture, clothes, and lifted up prayers for the family – thank you.
As the family packed up to move during Holy Week, we reflected on the journey they have had and the mother recalled her trials of guiding her family through the shelter systems and “the misery” of living on the streets. Tears came to her eyes as she reflected on where she is now and how important it was to be a part of a community to move forward.
On the first day in their new apartment, as everyone settled in, I asked one of the children how she felt. She described to me that the new apartment was very nice, but she liked her home at St. Agnes a little better. When I asked, “Why?” she responded, “Because God was there.”
This was not the first time I have heard that response from the children. From the youngest kids to the oldest, they have told me how they felt the presence of God in their time with the church, being safe in a physical place, but also with the presence of the good people surrounding them.
As I was leaving a dinner with the family a week after they moved in, Reyna, the mother, popped her head out of the door and called after me, “See you soon! This is your home too!” In the warmth of her welcome and in the joyful way she offered me hospitality, I felt God there, bringing forth newness and life.
Perhaps in Easter, this is who we are called to be: people who walk with each other on the way, through all of life’s uncertainties, struggles and joys, remembering that God is here in our midst. We now enter into a deeper accompaniment of the family as they find their way in the United States more independently. We hope to have a reflection together with St. Ignatius parish on lessons learned as sanctuary communities thus far. We hope to discern how to accompany and support our sanctuary family in this new transition. Stay posted for this event and for other ways on how we can continue to be committed and engaged with our sanctuary family and, of course, how to grow as an Easter people, too.