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  • Faith Journey - Debbie Vance

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    St. Matthias Outreach Fund supports Kairos Project, which helps women in prison with spiritual needs and redemption.

    The beauty and relaxation that covered the women as we shared our stories and they had an opportunity, in small groups, to share their stories, the walls began to tumble down. Together, we sang, we prayed, we cried, we loved, we listened, and we loved and listened some more. At the end of every Kairos weekend the women have an opportunity to share with the greater Kairos community what the weekend has meant to them.: In what spiritual conditions they arrived, what they found, what they were taking away. Over the years the com- ments and transformations made are mind-boggling and affirming. When you hear women say that in the past three days I experienced more love than in the first 40 years of my life, or I received a bag of letters which are the first letters I received since I've been incarcerated, or I've learned to love myself, I've learned to forgive myself and others, I've learned how to have a relationship with God and I know now how much God loves me.

    Debbie Vance

  • Faith Journey - Micah Initiative by Janice Dial

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    “The Micah Initiative has been supported by the Outreach budget for 14 years. At present there are 16 dedicated volunteers, and I venture to say we all have our stories to share. One of mine is about one of my kindergarteners. I normally go to John B. Cary on Mondays, but one week I was unable to go on Monday, so I went later in the week. As I was walking down the hall, one of the students stopped me and said, "You were supposed to be here Monday." This little girl let me know that they count on our presence. The Micah Program is all about being a constant in these children's lives. So many of them come from chaotic backgrounds and need someone they can rely on. Yes, we buy school supplies, tutor, mentor, and serve in many other ways. But most importantly, we are there to let them know we care, to be a constant in their lives.”

    Janice Dial

  • Faith Journey - Mike Larkin

    Mike LarkinI was raised in a Roman Catholic family in Upstate NY the oldest of seven children. Even at an early age the Catholic rituals were all very confusing to me. For the first 10 years of my life all the masses were in Latin, which I didn’t understand at all. Our parish priest emigrated from Ireland and his sermons were all fire and brimstone warning us of the gates of hell that awaited us all if we didn’t follow the straight and narrow. I was molded with a pretty high level of Irish guilt that if you didn’t do certain things you would pay for it dearly.

    I was taught Catechism by Nuns who never hesitated to pull out a yardstick to crack you across the knuckles for not falling in line. In elementary school on Wednesday afternoons all the Catholic kids would walk off the campus to the Grange hall next door for our weekly lessons with the Nuns. The rest of the school would go on recess while we were away. It was such a large Catholic community that there were only about 25% of the kids left behind. Can you imagine that happening today?

    Some of the rituals I complied with without never totally embraced were no meat on Fridays, weekly confession in a booth to repent for all you sins over the past week (you had to be creative to come up with fresh new sins each week) and saying the full rosary every night before going to bed. I can say a Hail Mary faster than anyone on the planet. On Sunday there were masses every hour on the hour from 7:00 to 12:00 and there was never time for any social connections as you had to head for the parking lot to make room for the next mass.

  • Faith Journey - Stephen Ministry by Rodger Hardy

    Stephen Ministry by Rodger Hardy

    I had read that being told that one has cancer is a shocking event. In my case it was much more gradual; from something is not quite right, to something is definitely wrong, to it may be cancer, to the confirmation. Further- more, I had no idea how serious it was until the treatments became more and more drastic. At some point I realized I was in real trouble.

    While I had submitted to all the recommended treatments and procedures, and taken all the (shockingly expen- sive) drugs prescribed there was a sinking feeling that it wasn’t enough, that things weren’t going well. I felt bad, not just physically, but also emotionally. Although I had been a Stephen Minister for several years I now realized that I needed a Stephen Minister for myself.

    My first meeting with my Stephen Minister was a little like a magician sitting in the audience of a magic act, knowing there was a rabbit in the hat. But Stephen Ministry is not magic, it is just the care receiver talking and the care giver listening. As I walked away from our first session I thought to myself, “I don’t know what just happened, but I feel better.” 

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