"Father, can you build me a wheelchair ramp?'
Vinnie, an occasional parishioner at our church in Camden, St. Anthony of Padua, cornered me at a parish event. In Camden, N.J., one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the United States, requests for help are frequent and often impassioned. I immediately gave Vinnie some stock responses: 'Have you tried the county office for disabilities?'; 'It's a very busy time, can you ask me again in a few weeks?'; 'Let me see if someone on the staff has any ideas.' I could tell from Vinnie's expression he had heard all this before, so I said, 'Let's pray that the Holy Spirit sends us someone who can build you a ramp.'
Within 48 hours, Professor Jim Mahar messaged me on Facebook: 'Given that the Northeast U.S. has been pretty lucky disaster-wise recently, BonaResponds has no clear-cut 'must help' site for our midterm break (Oct. 8-12) ... so I was wondering if you need any help? Would you like 15-20 volunteers for a long weekend of work? We could bring tools, are very skilled at wheelchair ramps etc...'
Be sure to read the while article! Fr. Jud says lots of nice things about BonaResponds! :)