A day of service for the Lord

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | Twitter

Among many poignant moments in Our Lady of Lourdes' Day of Service and Fellowship, a homeowner in University City came outside to check out his yard after parish volunteers had cleaned and otherwise prettied it up.

He had no words.

Just tears.

Similar scenes played out through the day, Oct. 25, as about 340 volunteers from Our Lady of Lourdes fanned out in U. City as part of the city's service day.

"I keep thinking about the role of the Holy Spirit in this," said parishioner Rich Gund, who coordinated 100 volunteers to work at 25 homes. "The weather was perfect. We had no injuries except a bee sting and some poison ivy."

Best of all, helpers kept showing up.

"For every person who had to cancel at the last minute, another person walked up within five minutes -- I'm not kidding -- and said, 'I didn't sign up. Can you use me?'" Gund said.

In addition to Gund, Lyn Pickel managed crews that worked on four houses in the parish. The volunteers fixed railings and decks, painted and cleaned up inside or out -- you name it. The city came through with a truck, gloves and trash bags for clean-up plus smoke detectors for safety.

The work on homes encompassed less than 30 percent of the service that day. Volunteers also hosted three Halloween parties -- for 100 children at St. Augustine/Wellston Center, for 50 at East Side Heart & Home in East St. Louis, Ill., and for mothers and children from Good Shepherd Home at Lourdes' parish center.

In addition, volunteers tackled repair work at St. Augustine Church, landscaped at Bevo Senior Center in south St. Louis, collected 63 bags of clothing, filled toiletry bags for St. Augustine parishioners and St. Peter & Paul's Safe Haven in the city, shined silver for a parishioner and distributed flyers in regard to future service days.

Garden Heights Nursery, Hoods Discount Home Center, Delta Dental, Kaemmerlen Electric and parishioner Chuck Feise who works for Scotts Miracle-Gro donated materials to help make the day a smashing success.

"In my almost 50 years at Lourdes, the Service Day was one of the highlights of all events," parishioner Judy Luepke said.

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