COLORADO SPRINGS. “Join me in singing ‘Silent Night,’ one of the most beautiful carols ever written,” said Diana Corliss to everyone gathered while dinner was served to a group of homeless and vulnerable people at Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs on Dec. 4.
As the sweet strains of “Silent Night” began, priests, volunteers, the homeless and infirm all sang together in a reminder of what Christmas is all about.
It occurred at an event called The Lord’s Dinner, held each Sunday at Sacred Heart. Volunteers from area churches take turns preparing and the serving the meal.
turns preparing and the serving the meal. This Sunday, dinner was prepared by members of St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Monument. Kids and parishioners dressed in red “St. Matthias Cares” shirts included those whipping up mashed potatoes.
They had previously assembled large bags of indispensable toiletries for the hundreds of homeless who show up every Sunday for a hot meal, some indoor comforts, and companionship. Nothing is required of them to attend.
Rosalie Pena of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado’s Office of Parish Social Ministries arranged for the more than 20 choir members from St. Mark Parish in Highlands Ranch to perform at the Dec. 4 dinner. Corliss told her that they wanted to go where they were needed the most.
“They wanted to know if there was a way they could help,” Pena said. “That’s what good outreach does.”
St. Mark’s pastor, Father Francisco Quezada, also drove the 60 miles to attend. He noted how proud he was of the choir and its musical director, then joined them in singing. Even Sherm Kemp, providing security for the event, joined in singing.
Those who were being served at the dinner expressed appreciation. One man said that it would be the last dinner he planned to attend because he was starting a job soon. He said the dinners helped to make ends meet so that he could concentrate on finding a job.
As everyone finished supper, a sense of warmth and holiday spirit prevailed. That’s when the choir invited everyone to sing “Silent Night.” Afterwards, the homeless reentered the freezing cold outside — breath visible in the air — departing to shelters, camps, or places unknown for the night, filled at least with the memory of a safe companionship, a good hot meal and strains of Christmas carols.