Our Neighbor to Neighbor meal has served over 1,000 people in the last 5 months. As you will remember, the purpose of the meal is to share food with any people in our area who wish to share a meal with us. We have been establishing a core of regular participants including clients from our food pantry and many residents from the apartments in our community. As we have frequently said, the meal is not primarily about the food. It is about the relationships we hope to build among those who share the food together.
At the first meal, we had an equal number of neighbors and parishoners of St. Noel. At the more recent meals the percentage of parishoners has dropped. Therefore, I am writing to you today to ask you to attend our Neighbor to Neighbor meal, not as a worker (we have those positions covered), but as an “eater.” I know it may sound strange to be asking you to come and share in a free meal, but again, it is not about the food. It is about extending the love of Christ through a meal shared with those we have not previously met.
All too often we associate service with doing things (such as preparing and serving food) but there is also a service of presence, simply seeing Christ in others, and allowing them to see Christ in us. This is the ministry we are seeking at our Neighbor to Neighbor meal. I invite you to come, sit down with someone you do not know, and eat together. From my own experience of doing this, I can testify to the power that flows from discovering the differences and similarties which exist between people of varying backgrounds. Jesus often becomes visible in the space between us.
I also want to encourage the Neighbor to Neighbor meal as a profitable experience for families. It will, of course, provide a night off from meal preparation. But more importantly it also offers a common experience that family members can reflect on together. To help parents in this opportunity we have prepared a set of discussion questions families may use together before and after the Neighbor to Neighbor meal. You can use this link (stnoel.org/neighbor-to-neighbor-meal/) for these questions. There is also a link to comments made by those who have attended the meal.
The Neighbor to Neighbor meal takes place on the first Thursday of every month. Doors open at 5:30 – dinner is at 6:00 p.m. The next meal is Thursday, March 3rd . I strongly encourage you to come a couple times per year as an individual or a family simply to eat with our neighbors around us. Eating might seem a strange kind of service. But remember Jesus ate regularly with his disciples and those who came to hear his word. If you come to the Neighbor to Neighbor meal, I am sure you will discover he still does.
MATCHING GIFT SUCCESS – As of last weekend we have collected $32,281.00 for our matching gift opportunity. That is 108% of our goal. Thank you to everyone who participated in this effort. We plan to replace the roof over the kitchen of the Banquet Center this summer – July 18th – 28th
BLACK AND INDIAN MISSION COLLECTION – This weekend our ushers will be in the Narthex to accept your donations for the Black and Indian Missions. Over the years this collection has changed the landscape of evangelization and education efforts for Native Americans, Alaskan Americans, and African-Americans throughout the United States.
RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE – The blood drive is this weekend on Sunday, February 28th, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Banquet Center. Walk-ins are welcome!
ADORATION – On Monday, February 29th the time for Adoration will be 1:00-6:00 p.m., due to First Reconciliation beginning at 6:30 p.m.
2016 MASS BOOK – The Mass Book is open, and we are currently offering Mass Intentions throughout the remainder of the year. Please stop by the Parish Office if you would like to schedule Masses.
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, March 4th, the Stations will be led by the Music Ministry.
LENTEN CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER – Join parishioner Emma Krueger as she leads us on a walk through Lent to greater intimacy with Jesus. On Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m. through March 29th, we will gather in the Resurrection Room and immerse ourselves in the Scriptures, using meditation, Lectio Divina, imagery and music. We will conclude welcoming the Risen Jesus, the Christ. If this opportunity interests you, please sign up on the kiosk. You can come to any or all of the sessions.
CONCERT CHOIR AT ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CATHEDRAL. Sunday, March 6, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. our St. Noel Concert Choir will be singing during Sunday Mass at St. John Evangelist Cathedral in Cleveland. Everyone is invited to join our singers at this liturgy.
SOCIAL JUSTICE COLLECTION – Next weekend, our ushers will be in the Narthex to accept your donations to our Social Justice Fund.
SOCIAL JUSTICE FUND – For January, 2016, we collected $1,925.77. Our expenses for January were:
|Neighbor to Neighbor Meal||408.03|
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2016 – Save the date! VBS will be held during the week of July 11th – 15th. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details.
CRS RICEBOWLS: HUNGERING FOR A HEALTHY START – The next stop on our CRS Rice Bowl journey is the African nation of Rwanda, where we’re reminded to care for the unborn. This week we pray for pregnant mothers, that they may have the medical and nutritional support they need to raise healthy, thriving children. Visit crsricebowl.org for more.
LENTEN BAGS – 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 are available on the table in the narthex. These works of mercy are a tremendous benefit to the agencies; please consider making the bags a part of your Lenten devotion.
SPEAKING OF WOMEN’S HEALTH: MISSION NUTRITION – The Cleveland Clinic is sponsoring an evening devoted to women’s health and nutrition issues on Thursday, March 31st in the Banquet Center. This exciting women-only event offers: Complimentary health screenings and wellness information, a sit-down dinner, an informal Q&A discussion with a panel of experts from Cleveland Clinic who specialize in nutrition, giveaways and prizes, and a retail boutique specializing in health and wellness products. Cost is $20 and reservations are required. Pick up a flyer in the kiosk.
PARISH PICTURE DIRECTORY – It’s been 12 years since our last picture directory and many parishioners have expressed a desire to create a new, updated one. The company that creates the directories does the bulk of the work; we need a committee of 4-5 people to oversee the project. Are you interested? Please contact Anthony at the parish office to learn more (946-0887).
PROJECT HOPE WISH LIST – for those filling Lenten bags for Project Hope, here are some additional ideas: pens (any color), lip balm, light bulbs, bottled water, coffee filters (small), powdered coffee creamer, men’s gloves (waterproof). Thanks for your help!
PAYPAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE – you can now donate to the Social Justice Fund directly from the St. Noel website. Go to the Social Justice page (https://stnoel.org/social-justice/) and click on the yellow donate button. It’s a simple & secure way to support the outreach efforts of St. Noel. All money is tax deductible, and donors receive an electronic receipt for all transactions. In addition to help with rent, utility bills, and other expenses, the Social Justice Fund also supports the Neighbor to Neighbor Meal, Adult Education Resource Center, New Beginnings Re-Entry Ministry, LEAF, and more. Visit the St. Noel website to learn more.
PARISH DAYTIME RETREAT – On March 2nd, from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., we will discuss “Traveling Lent Together.” Sign up on the Kiosk or call Fran at 440-625-1228. A donation of $6.00 is suggested to cover lunch. All are welcome!
NOEL FELLOWSHIP – Meetings are held on Thursdays at 12:00 Noon in the St. Noel Banquet Center Small Hall. Activities are: On March 3rd, Bingo; March 10th, Bingo and Bake Sale. On March 17th, at 12:00 p.m., socializing meeting; 12:30 p.m., luncheon menu: corned beef, cabbage, carrots, redskin potatoes, rye bread w/butter, apple pie. For tickets call Rosemarie Baranauskas at 440-585-4548. Cost is $6.00. Deadline for tickets and payment is March 14th. NO meeting on March 24th (Holy Thursday). On March 31st, Bingo, Birthdays & Anniversaries. Bring something for the food pantry and get a free 50/50 ticket. Everyone is welcome!
THE ROSS AND CARMELLA DEJOHN SCHOLARSHIP AWARD – This scholarship is based on more than grades or athletic achievement. It is offered to graduating high school seniors who have exemplified the FIVE STAR STANDARDS of Independence, Integrity, Excellence, Fairness and Professionalism. The scholarship winners will receive $500 that can be used toward college or technical school. Applications are available in the kiosk. For further information call 440-516-5555.
GROWING THROUGH GRIEF BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT PROGRAM – Have you been grieving for a year or longer and still don’t feel like your coping any better? Do you feel like you are walking alone and no one understands what you are feeling? If the answer is yes, please join us! This program offers suggestions for working through the stages of grief and finding ways to continue on. It provides an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings in an environment of understanding and empathy. These sessions will be Tuesday evenings, starting February 23rd-March 29th. They will be held in the Religious Education Office in the school at St. Gabriel’s from 7:00-8:30 p.m. You do not have to attend all sessions. For more information, please call Eileen at 440-255-1447.
BETHANY RETREAT CENTER – Join us for Lenten Day of Prayer at the Retreat Center, 13000 Auburn Rd., Chardon (across from NDCL) on Saturday, March 5th from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The Mysticism of Mercy: The Life and Love of God Encountered in Word and Sacrament, will be facilitated by Fr. Michael Woost of St. Mary Seminary. Coffee and pastries served at 9:30 a.m. Closing 4:00 p.m. Vigil Mass. $25.00 donation includes presentation, refreshments and lunch. Please contact Sister Jennifer Kramer, SND to register at [email protected] or 440-279-1143.
“ORDINARY LIVES, EXTRAORDINARY MISSION” – Are you due for a “spring awakening” in your Catholic faith? Dr. John Woods is coming to St. Gabriel’s in Concord on March 12th from 9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Visit dynamiccatholic.com/events or call Debbie at 259-1867 for more information.
OUR LADY OF LOURDES SHRINE GIFT SHOP – Has a wide variety of beautiful First Communion and Confirmation items at very affordable prices as well as gift items for all occasions. We are open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., located at 21281 Chardon Rd.
CITY OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS – will hold their annual all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfasts on Sundays, March 6th, March 13th and March 20th from 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at Willoughby Hills Community Center, 35400 Chardon Rd. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at Willoughby Hills City Hall and the Community Center Office. Ticket prices are Adults $6.50 pre-sale or $7.00 at the door, Children ages 5-12, $4.00 and kids 4 & under are free. WH Recreation is sponsoring the March 6th and 13th breakfasts. The WH Lions is sponsoring March 20th.