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Volunteers from parishes joining together in Feed My Sheep effort

posted Mar 28, 2013, 9:22 AM by John Ramthun

Written by Cheryl Horne, For the Catholic Herald   

Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- In 2012 several parishes banded together with the Catholic Multicultural Center, Kids Against Hunger, as well as the organization 6:8 Making Service Personal and made a plan.

The plan, called Feed My Sheep, was to invite people from local Catholic parishes to donate toward building 25,000 meals for people in need in the Madison area and throughout the world. Each meal only cost a quarter, yet 25,000 meals sounded like a lot of quarters . . . and it was.

Yet that year we blew the goal out of the water and raised money and had enough volunteers to make over 61,000 meals.

Reaching a new goal

So, when it came time to plan for the 2013 Feed My Sheep event, we decided to dream bigger. This year the goal was an unprecedented 100,000 meals.

And again, we exceeded the goal.

At the end of the day there were 100,872 meals prepared, boxed, and ready to be taken to wherever they were needed.

Together people from the Catholic Multicultural Center as well as Good Shepherd, Our Lady Queen of Peace, St. Bernard in Middleton, St. Maria Goretti, St. Martin, St. Peter, and St. Thomas Aquinas Parishes raised the money and the volunteer power to exceed the goal. Coordinated by 6:8 Making Service Personal, they responded to Jesus’ call in the Gospel of John to “Feed My Sheep.”

A personal approach

The day was different from the year before in another way as well. Many of the volunteers enjoyed lunch with the guests at the Catholic Multicultural Center at the beginning of the work day.

Sharing a meal together, those who had come for food and fellowship as well as those who had come to serve, helped to give the day a more personal approach.

‘Who is my neighbor?’

We answered the question around the lunch tables we shared that day. And we answered it repeatedly as bag after bag and box after box was filled with food for people in need across the globe.

While much of the food will remain in Madison (including the food pantries at the Catholic Multicultural Center and St. Vincent DePaul as well as Salvation Army and the Sauk Prairie Food Pantry), a good portion of the food is headed toward a school in Nicaragua.

Preaching the Gospel

Finally, at the end of the long day, with over 100,800 meals prepared for those in need, the day, as it had the year before, culminated in Mass.

Msgr. Ken Fiedler, pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, said Mass at the Catholic Multicultural Center for everyone who wanted to join. Many from earlier shifts returned and many (still in their hairnets) came upstairs after the final shift to pray together.

Monsignor Ken’s homily featured the words most often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi in honor of Pope Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

“Today,” said Monsignor Ken, “you have preached the Gospel.”

Feed My Sheep

Plans are already underway for Feed My Sheep 2014, so mark your calendars for Saturday, April 5. Talk with your parish leadership (and if your parish wants to join the team for the first time, contact 6:8, Making Service Personal), talk with your family, talk with your friends, save your quarters, and come join us.

For more information about Feed My Sheep last year, this year, or next year, go to the 6:8 Making Service Personal Web site at http://www.makingserviceperson al.org

You may send e-mail inquiries to makingservicepersonal@gmail.com


Cheryl Horne is the director of youth ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison.