As the season of Lent begins, I would like to suggest to you a unique Lenten resolution. Unique because carrying it out might take place later this year or next.
For over two years St. Noel has sponsored a Neighbor to Neighbor meal on the first Thursday of every month. The purpose of the meal is to welcome our neighbors in the area with a free meal we share with them. We routinely have 300 people share the meal with us each month. Many are of a different faith or socio- economic background. We want all of them to know they are welcome at St. Noel.
From the start, the Neighbor to Neighbor meal was not about food, but welcoming. Welcoming defines us as a parish. “Gracious Welcoming” is a part of our Mission Statement. Here is where we need your help. Of the 300 people who attend the Neighbor to Neighbor meal, only about 40 are St. Noel parishioners. It is hard to welcome if not enough of us are present. Our Pastoral Council reviewed this situation and is using Lent as a time to ask for your involvement. There are several ways you can participate with the Neighbor to Neighbor meal. You can help with set-up, serve the meal, or clean-up, or simply come and eat. Presently we have volunteers willing to cover the serving and set-up options, but only a handful of parishioners who come to eat. This might be because in some ways, it is easier to serve. Our parishioners have reservations about coming to eat a meal for which they do not pay. But we need you to do this if the Neighbor to Neighbor meal is to be a true welcoming event. And I would like to remind you that sharing a meal is a form of service to each other.
Because the Neighbor to Neighbor meal is a year-long ministry, we need to avoid everyone deciding to come during Lent. Therefore, the Pastoral Council has devised sign-up sheets for the next year of the Neighbor to Neighbor meal. The council is asking every household to consider participating in the meal once in the upcoming year. You can show your intention to do this by signing up in the Narthex after Mass this weekend or next. You can sign up either to serve or to eat. But again, I encourage you to just come and eat as a welcome to our neighbors.
Members of the Parish Pastoral Council will be speaking before the Masses this weekend and will be in the Narthex after Mass and next weekend with the sign-up sheets. Please consider coming to the Neighbor to Neighbor meal sometime in the next year.
Help us to welcome graciously our neighbors who, like us, are daughters and sons of God.
Fr. George Smiga
BLACK AND INDIAN MISSION COLLECTION – This weekend, our ushers will be in the Narthex to accept your donations for the Black and Indian Missions.
PANCAKE BREAKFAST – Thank you for supporting our Youth Ministry efforts by attending the Pancake Breakfast last Sunday. Thanks to your generosity, we raised $1,673.
SOCIAL JUSTICE/ST. AUGUSTINE – On Sunday, February 25th, our volunteers will be serving the meal at the St. Augustine Hunger Center. There is a sign-up sheet on the kiosk if you are able to lend a hand.
CHURCH IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE COLLECTION – The ushers will be in the Narthex next weekend to accept your donations for the CCEE. With your support you aid those who strive to rebuild their faith communities.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS – Every Friday at 7:30 p.m. there will be an opportunity to pray the Stations of the Cross. This Friday, February 23rd will be led by the Music Ministry.
LEAF – Our next LEAF meeting is Monday, February 19th at 7:00 p.m. in the Nativity Room. If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, consider attending LEAF (Listening, Empowering, Assisting Families). LEAF is a non-denominational ministry where relatives and friends of those incarcerated can join with others in conversation and fellowship. Meetings are anonymous, and registration is not required. Visit www.leafministry.org or call the St. Noel parish office at 440-946-0887 for more information.
ENCOUNTER LENT – Join our parish, and nearly 14,000 Catholic communities across the country, in a life-changing Lenten journey of encounter with CRS Rice Bowl. Pick up your family’s CRS Rice Bowl in the narthex after Mass, and don’t forget to download the CRS Rice Bowl app! May these 40 days better prepare us to encounter ourselves, our neighbors, and our God.
ENCOUNTER MAJD – In Iraq, we encounter Majd and his family, people forced to flee violence, searching for stability. How are we called to welcome the stranger in our midst? How can you support those, worldwide, who are forced to flee their homes to find safety or better opportunities? Visit crsricebowl.org for more.
NOEL FISH FRIES – will be held on Fridays, through March 23rd in the Banquet Center from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. The cost is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12, and no cost for children 5 and under. These Fish Fries are an important fundraiser for our parish and they are possible only through the generosity of parishioners willing to help with serving and clean-up. Sign-up sheets are on the kiosk. Randy also needs volunteers to help set up on Fridays at 12:30 p.m. If you can help, please call the Banquet Center at 440-946-6635.
LENTEN BAGS & TAGS – We will again be collecting bags of items for Forbes House (the Lake County Women’s Shelter), Project Hope (the Lake County homeless shelter), Birthright, St Augustine Hunger Center, and the St. Noel Food Pantry. Plastic bags, tags with the items needed, and information on the various agencies will be available on the table in the narthex beginning in Lent. These works of mercy are a tremendous benefit to the agencies; please consider making the bags a part of your Lenten devotion.
PARISH LENTEN SERIES – Just as spring brings thoughts of remodeling our homes, Lent can be a time to remodel the faith that grows within our homes. All adults in the parish are invited to join parishioner Brian Myers as he leads a unique Lenten experience entitled, “Home Improvement: Give Your Faith a Remodel.” This series will begin in-person on Monday, February 26th, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Small Hall of the Banquet Center, and continue on-line throughout the remainder of Lent and into the Easter season. Sign up on the kiosk or by contacting Michele ([email protected] or 440-946-1128, x121).
FOOD PANTRY BAGS – Over the last 3 years, we’ve distributed close to 500 St. Noel Food Pantry bags. If you have a bag lying around your home, please return it to the parish (with some food ☺) so it can get back into circulation. Thank you!
N2N RESOURCE ROOM – The Neighbor to Neighbor Meal is now staffing a resource room at each meal. Professionals from the community are available to consult with neighbors, free of charge. We are looking for nurses, doctors, lawyers, social workers, financial advisers, mental health & healthcare professionals, etc. to volunteer their time occasionally in the Resource Room. Please contact Anthony to learn more (440-946-1128 x122).
PARISH DAYTIME RETREAT – Due to bad weather, the rescheduled date and time will be Wednesday, February 21st, from 9:30 a.m.- Noon (they will be available beyond noon for further discussion.) “Mining for Spiritual Gems: A Practice of Mindfulness, Gratitude, Reflection, and Journaling.” Facilitated by Sharon Waltermire, Fran Armbruster and the Retreat Community. Sign up on the kiosk or call Fran at 440-625-1228. All are welcome!
NOEL FELLOWSHIP – Meetings are held on Thursdays at Noon in the St. Noel Banquet Center Small Hall. On February 22nd, Bingo, Birthdays and Anniversaries. Bring something for the food pantry and receive a free 50/50 ticket. Everyone is welcome!
UPCOMING BLOOD DRIVE – Our next blood drive is Sunday, February 25th from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Banquet Center. You can register online at www.redcrossblood.org/. See the website for details.
COMMONWEAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES – Commonweal Local Communities began in 2013. They consist of readers and friends of Commonweal who gather in their local communities for critical conversation on issues that matter the most. The next gathering is scheduled for Monday, February 26th at 6:00 p.m. in the Resurrection Room. You do not need to be a subscriber to attend, but you must pre-register. If interested, email your name and parish to Jack Rakosky ([email protected]). Learn more at: https://pages.commonwealmagazine.org/clc/
FREE FRESH PRODUCE – Our next senior market is scheduled for Monday, February 26th from 2-4 p.m. in the Banquet Center. Because the Greater Cleveland Food Bank is closed on February 19th, we need to reschedule the date to February 26th. Please spread the word. Our January market served 125 people.
LENTEN REFLECTION SERIES – presented by Ursuline College’s faculty, promises to provide food for thought and reflection during your Lenten journey. For further information contact Dr. Linda Martin at 440-646-8191.
FLOCK OF FRIENDSHIP (Singles 40 and over) – On Friday, February 23rd at 7:00 p.m., join us for our monthly game night at St. Paschal’s Life Center. This is one of our best-attended events and is good for old and new members. Please bring a snack to share, money for pizza, and your favorite game. RSVP Jim at 440-227-9189 to let him know you are coming.
MEALS ON WHEELS – is the largest program at the Council on Aging and provided well over 150,000 meals to homebound seniors in 2017. March for Meals is our biggest fundraiser of the year. This year, March for Meals will be held on Saturday, March 10th at the Great Lakes Mall. For additional information, call Jennifer at 440-205-8111, Ext. 240 or email [email protected].
BRINGING AMERICA BACK TO LIFE – Brochures regarding the Pro-Life Convention on March 9th-10th at Embassy Suites in Independence, Ohio are available in the kiosk.