Celebrating your kindness and generosity in 2016

As I write to you it is soon after we were whisked into 2017. It is a quiet time at work around our community. I find this time a great opportunity to jot down my thoughts, reminisce about the year gone by and catch my breath after the busy Christmas Season.

It was a season that saw us reach out to thousands of men, women and children who were able to celebrate because of the generosity of time, talents and resources that you so willingly gave to make the miracles of Christmas happen here at Good Shepherd.

It is time to celebrate and count our blessings for being able to reach out and touch the lives of so many vulnerable people in 2016. Whether it was welcoming a refugee family fleeing violence and abuse in South America; helping a woman move from her camp in a neighbourhood park into a place where she could feel safe and secure; or bidding goodbye to co-workers who passed away, knowing full well that there will always be an emptiness in our hearts for their laughter and wit. These are just some of the gifts I received this past year.

I think of the volunteers who helped out the shoppers in our Christmas Market Place, and the donors who sponsored a family or remembered us when they were doing their own grocery shopping and bought a little extra to share with our neighbours in need.

I remember the countless volunteers who helped out at the Venture Centre to sort food and gifts, stock shelves and welcome guests to the Market Place.

I think of more than 2,000 lives for whom miracles happened at the Hamilton Convention Centre where families and individuals feasted and played at Good Shepherd’s annual Christmas Wonderland.

For all these things I am both grateful and humbled. Grateful for your generosity that keeps this ministry of Never Stop Loving going and humbled by the trust you put in us to be stewards of your gifts to those in need.

In 2017, I want us all to be aware of our privilege in life – and be fully aware of our own blessings and vulnerabilities which have been given to us and enable us to help others. My prayer for you in 2017 is a paraphrase of St. Francis of Assisi:

May God make you an instrument of peace. Where there is hatred, sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Creator, grant that you seek not to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that you will receive; it is in pardoning that you are pardoned; and it is in dying that you will be born again to eternal life.

May you have a Blessed and Holy New Year,
Brother Richard MacPhee, OH
Executive Director