Honest Work, Incredible Blessings.



Members of both chapters of RAOC headed up the 101 to Sonoma to join Habitat For Humanity in a Build Day working on homes for fire victims. Dirt, rocks, mulch, concrete—if it fit in a wheelbarrow, we shoveled, carted and spread it. There were high spirits during the heavy lifting, because when you see the efforts of so many working to help those raveged by tragedy you realize the work is not hard, it’s God’s.

Love. It's In The Bag.



The St Brendan members of RAOC kicked off the September faith share by assembling goodies bags for the homeless. We call them Kylie’s bags as they were inspired by a teenager named Kylie who went ahead and put together bags to hand out all on her own without even telling her parents. Her parents found out, of course, and mom is a member of RAOC so she let us steal the idea. We make them and distribute them now quite regularly. One good turn deserves another. Thank you, Kylie. Blessings to all who make and receive them.

Supplying Normalcy.

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A stirring faith-share on September 11th turned into a spirited frenzy as 20-plus members of RAOC filled over 70 backpacks they had bought for the Marin County Office of Education Foster and Homeless division. Having something as simple as a backpack and a few supplies helps kids start the year in a reasonably normal way, just like other kids. Some new wardrobe items also help boost confidence and ease anxiety, so we had kicked off our back-to-school efforts a few weeks earlier when we joined the Salvation Army for shop-alongs at Target with kids who needed a little help getting outfitted for the school year. Quoting our Saint of the Meeting for 9/11, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, “Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for the noblest of acts.” I think our merry little group truly approaches Acts such as these with genuine cheerfulness, and it does us all so much good.

Handmade & Handed Out With Love.

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RAOC members gathered on a Saturday morning at Our Lady of Mount Carmel for a Rosary making session. We made corded Rosaries, flexwire Rosaries and beaded chain link Rosaries. All to send to our friends at Christ In The City, Denver, a fantastic ministry where young adults dedicate a whole year to living together and going out into the streets to tend to and help the homeless. Now they have some handmade love to give them as well. May Our Lady of the Rosary Bless both the homeless and those that go out to meet them.

A Little Brown Bag Can Hold A Lot Of Grace.



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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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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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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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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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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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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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.



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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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.


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.