Society volunteer persists in keeping family housed

Ken Kapeller, right, of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, conducted a home visit June 12 with Mellissa Gaines, who has received aid through the Society.

The apartment is nothing fancy, but it's home.

Toys are tucked away in a corner of the living room in the clean and tidy three-bedroom unit. The furniture isn't new. No fancy decorations on the wall or shelves. Outside, three well-worn bikes with crumbling seats are parked under the stairway.

Ladies of Charity quietly attend to work of serving others


Inside the spacious hall at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in south St. Louis, several women were busy sorting items and checking distribution plans for an annual Christmas gift-giving to residents of a nearby senior residence.

It's part of the Christmas program, the biggest operation of the year for the parish known for its ministry to poor and homeless people. But even on a typical weekday, members of the Ladies of Charity take part in a half-dozen or so other activities related to the parish outreach.

Larger than life Christmas lights display is born out of appreciation for the simple things of Christmas

For 25 years, the Trevisano family has hosted a huge Christmas lights display at their home. For the past 13 years, they have accepted cash donations to benefit St. Patrick Center. Jay Trevisano displays 35,000 lights and more than 100 teddy bears at his Crestwood home.

Some of Jay Trevisano's fondest childhood Christmas memories include making ornaments with his six siblings and going Downtown to see Christmas lights, followed by a visit with Santa on the 13th floor of Famous-Barr.

The Trevisano family was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. When Trevisano's father was killed in the war — Jay Trevisano was 5 years old at the time — the family returned home to the United States, and they moved in with his mother's parents on the Hill.

In God's Hands: Always a way to help the needy

Walter Roddy, right, a parishioner at St. Alban Roe, has been working with the aid of his fellow parishioners to help the poor and needy in north St. Louis County. He helped Shirley Gorka, center, and her daughter, Angie Gorka, who have been living in a house with a broken sewer that backed up in their basement. Roddy and plumber Gloria Gooden helped to clear nearly two-feet-deep muck from the basement and put in a new drain pipe to the main.

As Easter and the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection approached, Walter Roddy of St. Alban Roe Parish thought he might scale back on his charitable pursuits for the time being.

Holy Week had been busy, busy, with home visits, baby-shopping trips and apartment hunting as well as the delivery of Easter baskets for needy children. He mixed in these visits to Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee -- his names for area's north and south of Highway 40, respectively -- with his day job as a financial planner in Chesterfield.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Charity: Way by which we love God and our neighbor

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson led Easter Vigil services at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. He blessed the water in the baptismal font before six people were baptized into the Catholic faith. Five others were received into full communion with the Church through the sacrament of confirmation.

"Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1822).

When the topic is the theological virtue of love (charity), we might think of how we give love to others. That's a good thing; but I want to draw our attention to the paradoxical truth that the most fruitful human activity is to receive the love of God.

How could that possibly be the case?

POPE'S MESSAGE | Just as God freely offers salvation, don't give hoping to benefit

Pope Francis greeted the crowd as he arrived to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 3. The pope is preparing for his first international visit in Europe, to Albania, on Sept. 21.

VATICAN CITY -- Christians are called to help those who have nothing to give and love those who don't love back, Pope Francis said.

Salvation and changing the world for the better require "doing good to those who aren't able to repay us, just like the Father did with us, giving us Jesus," the pope said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Sept 10.

"How much have we paid for our redemption? Nothing! It was all free!" he said. "So do good without expecting something in return. Just as the father did with us, we have to do the same. Do good and keep going!

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