A Little Brown Bag Can Hold A Lot Of Grace.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco’s new Division Circle Navigation Center provides 126 beds and extensive support services to clients who mostly suffer from chronic homelessness. SVDP-SF staff and partner agencies offer a wide spectrum of services that include case management, medical care, mental health and substance abuse screening, access to appropriate treatment, public benefits and employment resources, and most importantly, assistance to finding appropriate and available housing. We, the members of the Saint Brendan RAOC, simply made brown bag lunches for them during our Holy Week meeting. We put love into it, and grace poured out of it. We’re sure it’s an Act we will undertake again soon.


A Journey To The Depths Of Our Hearts.

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MILL VALLEY, CA

A dozen or so RAOC folks gathered at a private residence in Mill Valley for a stimulating, heart-lifting Lenten Retreat led by the amazing and talented Father Bill Watson, SJ. Father flew in from Seattle to take us through 3 stirring presentations entitled “Creation to Calvary & Beyond, The Astonishing Beauty of God’s Love For Us.” Each session was immediately followed by fruitful periods of silent reflection (aided by art and scripture). We shared meals and faith over two days, and it culminated in a moving and memorable Mass right at the kitchen table. Lights in our hearts were lit. Thank you and God Bless you, Father Bill. 


Assembly Line Of Compassion.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA

RAOC members of Saint Brendan stepped up the production of our “Kylie’s Bags”—goody bags of toiletries we make for, and hand out to, homeless people in SF. We filled a total of 40 bags this go around, each with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bottle of water, warm socks, granola bars, chapstick, sunscreen and soap. We have all stepped over the Lazarus in our doorways (LK 16:19-31) in our lives, but at least this next time, we will have something to offer him, as well as a kind word. Peace this Lenten season. 

"The Kingdom Of Heaven Belongs To Such As These."

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GURAP, INDIA

RAOC visited the Gurap Mission School outside of Kolkata to experience first-hand how our support and student sponsorships have made a difference. To see the humble way the kids live, and yet to feel their unmistakable joy is quite overwhelming. They bring the very words of Jesus (MT 19:14 & LK 18:16) to life. Stay tuned for more on the amazing progress of this beautiful community. In the meantime, click here to sponsor a child or contribute to the school: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/olomcc. God bless.

Helping Hands For Haiti.

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SAN FRANCSICO, CA

RAOC members from both chapters helped set up and run the auction at the 4th Annual Fundraising Dinner & Auction for Haiti On the Rise, a wonderful organization dedicated to supporting the people of Haiti in building vibrant communities. Through ongoing physical, social and sustainable infrastructure projects, Haiti On the Rise assists the Haitian people in improving their quality of life. Recovery from the recent earthquakes and hurricanes is painfully slow, and with the motto “men anpil, chay pa lou,” a Haitian proverb meaning “many hands lighten the load,” Haiti On the Rise partners with effective local organizations to truly make an impact in transforming communities. We were more than happy to become a few extra hands for this worthy event.

Kids In The Kitchen (Plus Cupcakes.)

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA

The RAOC team hit Saint Ignatius Shelter Meals once again. This time, we got the kids into the Act and they made beautifully crafted cupcakes, with love. The meals and treats we prepared are delivered to shelters throughout San Francisco, including Saint Anthony’s Dining Hall, Saint Joseph’s, Hamilton Family Shelter, Hospitality House and the Missionaries of Charity. The SI Shelter Meal program takes inspiration from these words of Pope Francis: “Be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor.” And so do we. Let’s all show the next generation the way.


Acts, Acts & More Acts (of Catholics).

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SAN FRANCISCO & NORCAL

The chapters of RAOC have been busy this Advent, doing everything possible to remember ‘the reason for the season.’ The sandwich-making crew continues its weekly production line. We have made Christmas Cards for the lonely. Celebrated the 2nd Annual RAOC Christmas Bash with donations for the kids at the Gurap School in Kolkata, India. Took post-turkey walks and hikes to raise money for Mary’s Meals, the organization that feeds 1.4 million kids a day in the most impoverished countries. Stocked the Saint Vincent de Paul food pantry with canned items. Delivered care packages of toiletries to the homeless. Worked the Saint Ignatius Shelter Meals kitchen preparing food for the various shelters and soup kitchens it serves. And we have set up the Advent Tree at OLMC with stars that represent each of the children of the Gurap School with the hopes people will select one and sponsor a child for the whole year (which also can be done by signing up here: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/olomcc.) Keep in mind as you, in any part of your life, share and give and help, you are doing something amazing. Henri Nouwen says “God is a generous God. Our giving is a partnering with Him in that generosity.” Partnering with God. Wow. Keep up the good work, people. God Bless all this Christmas.

Hard Hats & Soft Hearts: Working RAOC-Style.

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SANTA ROSA, CA

Members from both chapters of RAOC carpooled up to the North Bay to help Habitat for Humanity build homes for people in need in Sonoma County. Outfitted with hard hats, work gloves, shovels and hammers, our makeshift crew went to work on and around four new family homes. One lucky member even got to wield a jackhammer. All in all it was a joyful-but-taxing honest day’s work. The topper was we met one homeowner-to-be—an extremely appreciative mom of seven kids. Of course, she’s Catholic.


Praying Publicly For Healing & Change.

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MILL VALLEY, CA

Saturday at noon, members of RAOC joined Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s “Prayer For Wholeness” in the Depot Town Square in Mill Valley. We were joined by the pastors of other Christian Churches in Mill Valley as we prayed for abuse victims, for healing and for change. We all feel so helpless, and our Holy Church is being torn apart at this time. But we came together, to pray, to make a statement by just showing up: we are here, we are concerned, we want healing, we want change. Each participant brought a flower for a victim—the resulting bouquet was stunning. Father Pat led a beautiful, heartfelt litany of prayer as we all responded, in unison, “Lord, in your mercy, hear us.” 


We Got Their Backs.

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San Rafael, CA

RAOC led a parish-wide initiative at Our Lady of Mount Carmel to donate and fill backpacks for the Marin County Office of Education. The backpacks, a whopping 80 in total, are for disadvantaged kids who start the school year in need and without the supplies necessary. It also is emotionally and psychologically lifting to begin a fresh year with new stuff, like everybody else. Well done, good people. We know the angels of these kids are looking upon the face of the Heavenly Father. Let’s pray they’re giving a thumbs up.

 

 

Shop With Thy Neighbor.

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Novato, CA

A group of brave RAOC souls ventured out to Target at the crack of dawn this past weekend to accompany disadvantaged kids on a shopping spree, thanks to a great partnership with the Salvation Army. Each child received $100 to shop, as well as an adult companion to help them get the right clothes and supplies they need for the coming school year. The members reported back how much they connected with these kids and how this was an amazing event. Clearly the old adage is true: 'tis better to shop than to receive. God Bless all involved.

Offering Prayers, Collecting Trash.

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SAN RAFAEL, CA

RAOC members joined the ecumenical Holy Hikes to help clean up Marin Audubon Society's Tiscornia marsh land near Pickleweed Park, San Rafael. Holy Hikes leads outdoor liturgical hikes, which include celebrating mass in the beauty of the outdoors. San Francisco Baykeeper hosted this clean-up, which collected a substantial amount of trash along the shoreline, where several endangered species make their home. Peaceful prayer and environmental protection, all in one beautiful Act. Pope Francis would be proud.

 

We Walk, Foster Kids Advance.

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SAN RAFAEL, CA

RAOC members joined the Marin Foster Care Association on a fun, family-friendly one-mile walk along Shoreline Trail in San Rafael to raise money and awareness for the MFCA. The money goes toward opportunity fund scholarships to provide foster kids with lessons, camps and tutors, and is also used for state advocacy efforts, resource center services, a teen program, counseling for caregivers and parent peer-mentoring programs. Thanks to one short stroll on a beautiful afternoon, many lives will have a chance to get ahead. God is good.

 

Back To The Bags.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA

The Saint Brendan Chapter of RAOC spent the first part of this month’s meeting going back to the bags. That’s Kylie’s Bags—a teen’s idea to make goody bags of toiletries, socks and snacks for the homeless. Members spent the next few days handing out the bags with greetings of “God Bless You.” We got more than one “God Bless You” back in return. Consistent with all of life, we receive so much more than we give.

Mother's Day Meals, Complete With Cake.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA

RAOC headed to Saint Ignatius Shelter Meals to prepare meals for the SF homeless this past weekend. Potatoes were peeled and mashed, veggies diced and sauteed, and a 100 pounds of meatballs were rolled. But most special of all, the expert cake-making talents of one member were put to good use decorating a fridge full of Mother’s Day cakes for those moms in less fortunate situations. Mother Mary, bless and keep all moms, especially those most in need.