When I was a young girl, I went to many high school football games. At halftime, the cheerleaders, who were feverishly rooting for their team to outdo the opposition, would run across the field, join hands with the visiting team’s cheerleaders and introduce themselves to one another. They would chat for a while and then perform a welcoming cheer to those visiting fans. Together, usually hand in hand, they would then run back to the stadium’s home side, and another joint cheer would fill the air. A small gesture of hospitality, you might say, in an otherwise competitive arena.
Two schools come together to share an event! Two groups or organizations who otherwise might be ignoring one another come together to share an evening, a charity event, a belief, a Mass –not really a new or unique idea! Teenagers know how to do this. Students from Prep and Gross, Lincoln Pius and Mercy, Omaha and Gretna come together to debate, wrestle, or build robots. They make friends from other schools while keeping their home schools’ interests and needs first in their hearts.
Interacting and sharing with others enhances our lives. When I was younger, there was not enough time in the day to do all that I wanted to do and meet all those I wanted to meet. But as I have grown older, I have slowed down considerably. I have become satisfied with the ways I have always done things and am reluctant to welcome something or someone new into my life. Just going to church where I do not know anyone (except God, of course) causes me to become resistant and, perhaps, even turn to a TV to watch Mass via live stream. I have forgotten the excitement of meeting new people, hearing new ideas, working with others, and getting so much done.
Last fall, Eileen Egan and some ladies from both SJA and STM came together and provided me with an excellent reminder of what can happen when we reach out to and accept the help of others, hold hands, and work together for a common cause. Eileen’s thank you note to the women of both parishes who worked together in accomplishing the Sew Comfort Group’s Christmastime goal says it all:
“…in the beginning, I wasn’t sure if we could make and fill enough [Christmas] stockings for our [St. Joan of Arc’s] homebound parishioners; yet, it looks as if we will have enough for the homebound [parishioners] of both parishes, three or four assisted living facilities and the Hospice House!”(Midtown Catholic Bulletin, December 5, 2021, p.6)
Kudos to Sew Comfort and the other groups within Midtown Catholic’s parameters for reaching out and serving the needs of others, praying for others, completing and complementing one another to get the job done. What does this have to do with me? Where do I fit in? Should I just sit and watch or should I contribute to the success of Midtown Catholic? If I listen carefully, I can hear the answer. It is really not that difficult. I have to do what I did long ago – cross the field, make eye contact, smile, extend a friendly hand, and join the camaraderie.