Sometimes the Lord tugs on your heart softly – sometimes He tugs on your heart so strongly that you get knocked off your feet. – That is how St. Edith Stein’s Military Ministry started – getting knocked off my feet into action.
There are all kinds of stories about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the news, sometimes negative, sometimes positive. You would hear about the fighting, the danger of roadside bombs and insurgents.
Listening to the stories, made me wonder – how do families cope with having one of their family in harm’s way and so far from home -- a husband, wife, daughter, son, brother, sister, cousin? How many families here in our own parish have family members serving overseas? How can we help them and show our appreciation for their service and sacrifices?
There was such a push on my heart, but I wasn’t even sure where to start. After discussing the direction and possibilities with Deacon Tim, his wife, Gina, and Fr. Bob, and lots of others, we started out with the “Display of Valor” and our first military care package drive. After the first announcement, I knew we were headed in the right direction, when one of the military moms, Anne Bennett, came up to me after mass with tears of gratitude in her eyes. She had also felt very pulled to do something for our military, but wasn’t sure where to start.
Together we started organizing the Display and 1st Care Package Drive. It was during the 1st package drive, that I saw so many people in our parish had the same heart tug that I had, wanting to say “thank you for your service and sacrifice”. The thanks and generosity for our military was overwhelming.
To date – our SES parishioners have sent over 700 care packages to our SES military service men and women who are deployed overseas either in Iraq or Afghanistan. With each care package drive, we have been able to send multiple boxes to each service member for them to share with their unit. The generosity and care from our church made quite a difference!
One of our soldiers was so touched by the packages, when he was in town visiting, he made a point to stop by the church office to personally say “thank you” for those care packages and tell us what a big impact they had made in his unit. We have had many thank you letters and pictures from those on our “Display of Valor”.
One of the greatest blessings from this ministry has been getting to know the families of our military. Each one has a different story, but one thing is the same – they are very proud of their sons, grandsons, brother, niece, nephew, and cousin who are serving our country. They so appreciate the prayer and support of our parish members. Prayer for our military is one of the most important aspects of our ministry. Please continue to lift up in prayer our military service men and women.
We will be adding an additional aspect to the Military Ministry soon – a “scrapbook” with the letters and pictures from our military. It will be displayed in front of the “Display of Valor”. Please stop by for a look and see how you have made a difference!
It is the generosity and service of our SES parishioners that make this ministry possible! Thank you for giving from your hearts and for keeping our military men and women in your prayers!
We always welcome volunteers to help out with our Care Package drive and other parts of our ministry! If you would like to help out, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Yours in Christ,