News about Joey!
Just wanting to wish all a very "filling" and Blessed Thanksgiving as well as your families. Remembering always those who have little or none.
Update on Joey is that he had eye surgery that took four hours to try to clear more of the shrapnel and repair more damage to the left eye. He has to keep his head positioned facing down even when he sleeps for five days. A gas bubble was left in the eye to keep the retina from getting scratched while he is healing. He will have to wait two months before he has surgery on the right eye. The natural lens was destroyed by shrapnel and an artificial one needs to be implanted. It has been very painful for him. He has had to restrict himself to dark rooms and no fast movements of the head. Thank you for your prayers
Love and prayers,
Ben Salines' Letter to Fr. Louie
November 22, 2006
To: Rev. Msgr. Louis Brum
Dear Fr. Louis,
I am 20 years old. For the past 18 years, I have spent Thanksgiving at Holy Spirit. For me, a typical Thanksgiving Day starts by waking up at 7:30 or 8:00 AM. By 9:00 my family and I have arrived at Holy Spirit and are greeting our friends and fellow parishioners who have volunteered to prepare for the Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Every year, I look forward to Thanksgiving so that I can spend a day in service alongside some of the best people I know.
Every year, we see familiar faces. Tom, wearing his baseball cap, has his oven mitts and brings his pot. He’s in charge of the oven. Bill will make the gravy. Chayo arrives and prepares the yams, with assistance of several others. My mother will take some of the smaller children into the hall and have them cut sticks of butter, place rolls on pans, and butter the rolls. Benny and Debbie arrive with half their kitchen and oversee just about everything. Harry will be in charge of insuring that there is enough food at the tables at the proper time. And me? I work with the other 30 volunteers anywhere that help is needed. In the past 18 years, I have cut pies, butter rolls, stirred potatoes, picked music, drawn names for the door prizes, made punch, heated turkey and stuffing, opened cans of corn, prepared cranberry sauce, served food, counted plates, refilled drinks, prepare roasters, place tablecloths on tables, arrange baskets of fruit, drench yams in brown sugar, take out trash, sweep the floor, and everything else that needs to go into preparing a Thanksgiving Dinner.
For the past 18 years, my family has created a tradition of spending our Thanksgiving Day preparing a meal for 400 guests. At the end of the meal, we always have people come up to us and thank us. They tell us that if we didn’t have this dinner, they would be alone on Thanksgiving. They explain that without this food, they would go hungry on Thanksgiving. They talk about how it is their tradition to come to this dinner every year. They tell me that they remember when I was 3 years old, running around at Thanksgiving.
This year, my family’s tradition has been broken, for this year there is no Thanksgiving Day Dinner.
I understand that Holy Spirit celebrated a Thanksgiving Dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This is a nice gesture, but you cannot call this a Thanksgiving Day Dinner. There is a reason that we always chose to do our dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Our Parish Community, as you so love to call it, is our family. Thanksgiving is a day to get together with your family, and this is what we do. By attending the Thanksgiving Day Dinner, you are saying, “On this day reserved for my family, I spend my time with Holy Spirit Parish. The Parish is my family.”
Many of the guests at our dinner are Farm Workers, or come from the colonias. They do not normally attend our Services, but they come to Thanksgiving, and we welcome them. Holy Spirit used to be a church that welcomed ALL of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Because of the economic status of many of our guests, without our Thanksgiving Dinner, they would not have a Thanksgiving Dinner.
We also have many people attend who would be alone on Thanksgiving Day. These guests include widows, as well as couples with no family in the area. They are extremely grateful for the chance to be with a family on Thanksgiving Day. They have repeatedly thanked Holy Spirit for holding this event on Thanksgiving Day.
Don’t you see? It isn’t about the food we serve; it’s about when we serve it! When we serve a “Thanksgiving Dinner” 4 days before Thanksgiving, we tell our parishioners that they are not important enough for us to spend a special day with them. We tell them that they are an afterthought. We tell them that while we talk about them as our family, when push comes to shove, we care about them as much as we do complete strangers.
Fr Louis, I am personally insulted that you felt I was not good enough to eat Thanksgiving Dinner in your presence. I am personally insulted that the Parish Council put their own desires in front of the desires of the parish. It is nice to say, “Well, people don’t want to come to church on Thanksgiving Day,” however that is a bold face lie! For the past 18 years, we have had hundreds of people attend a Thanksgiving Dinner, on Thanksgiving Day, each year. Last year there were more than 400 guests at our Thanksgiving Dinner.
You could blame it on the fact that there are no volunteers, but that is not true either. Last year we had more than 100 people involved with preparing for the Dinner (ranging from donating a turkey, to spending 10 hours on Thanksgiving preparing a meal). The volunteers are there. We’d love to spend Thanksgiving at church doing what we have done for countless years in the past.
Fr. Louis, I am ashamed of you and the Parish Council for only caring about yourself. Remember that whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me. You are forsaking members of your community. You are shunning them. You, supposedly sent to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, are throwing people away.
Where were you when a man wanted a family on Thanksgiving? Perhaps you were eating a fancy dinner at a friend’s house. Why did you not invite him to come with you?
Where were you when an impoverished family asked for a meal on Thanksgiving? Perhaps you were handing them a coupon for a sandwich shop in Sharyland. Why did you not eat the sandwich with them?
Where were you when a high school student was looking for a way to live his faith through volunteer work? Where were you?
You and the Parish Council bring shame to the good name of Holy Spirit through your selfish actions and your exclusivity. How dare you take the church that I helped build and corrupt it? How dare you take my home and turn it upside down? How dare you insult my family? How dare you feel you are too good to hear from a parishioner and not read this entire letter?
If I do not receive a response to this letter, I will be personally insulted. Just remember, “What you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.”
A Card of Thanks to Our Troops
Something cool that Xerox is doing...
If you go to this web site, www.letssaythanks.com , you can pick out a Thank You Card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.
This is not about if they should be there or not,.. or even if we should bring them back. This is about THANKING THEM for the job they are doing for us...
How AMAZING it would be if we all sent one.
Happy Thanksgiving to all...