A Thanksgiving Message to Our Glenmary Partners

Not too long ago, Father Steve Pawelk received a call from Ruthann, a disabled woman in Maynardville, Tenn., whose husband left her for a more able-bodied woman. She could no longer feed her four children and asked Father Steve for assistance. He was able to direct Ruthann to the Union County Food Pantry.

Though sad, Ruthann’s story is not unusual. Throughout Glenmary’s mission areas, we are called to feed the hungry and to help the poor as part of our Catholic presence ministry. We spread the joy of the Gospel through our work as well as through evangelization.

Our founder, Father William Howard Bishop, envisioned a future where priests, brothers and coworkers ministered to “overlooked and forgotten people.” To find the neglected and forgotten, Glenmarians had to go “beyond the boundaries of where the Church is at present established and … build up Catholicity from the ground.”

Similarly, Pope Francis said in May 2015 that those who give freely to the needy are witnesses to Christ. He challenged all Catholics to help the less fortunate: “So many people even today hope to have enough to eat. The planet has food for all, but the will to share with everyone seems to be lacking. To prepare the table for all, and to ask that there be one table for all. Doing whatever we can so that everyone has food …”

Thank you for enabling Glenmary to infuse high poverty areas like Maynardville with God’s love, connecting residents to faith, food, shelter and other necessities. A donation of any amoung will ensure that Glenmary continues to strengthen its mission areas and to find new sites throughout rural America that need the Good News.

Glenmary often uses food as an entry point into a community. When Father Steve arrived five years ago in Union and Grainger counties, he, Brother Joe Steen and Brother Craig Digmann learned about the needs of the area and devised ways Glenmary could help. They soon realized that instead of starting a new food pantry, they should partner with the community to expand their existing services.

As I have seen, poverty permeates many of Glenmary’s communities. Low-income families struggle to balance purchasing food or buying medicine, paying utility bills or finding acceptable housing. Food pantries offer these people temporary relief and a chance to move forward.

Today, the Maynardville mission helps pantries in its area by collecting, storing and distributing the food.

In 2016, Father Steve was named the Union County Man of the Year for his collaborative approach to serving the county. He accepted the honor on behalf of St. Teresa of Kolkata mission and the Glenmary Group Volunteer Program, but it is support like yours that furthers his work. Please consider a donation to continue Glenmarians’ service in rural counties and to bless the “overlooked and forgotten” who are hungering for food as well as spiritual guidance.

As Romans 1:8-10 says, “I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is heralded throughout the world.” Everywhere we serve, your faith and generosity allow Glenmary to proclaim the Gospel and to help people like Ruthann. By being attentive hosts to the needy, as Pope Francis called us to do, we can bless our mission areas with food, drink and clothing as well as the Christian love and values that guide our ministry. Thank you for being a partner in our work. As a token of our appreciation, we have enclosed two beautiful Thanksgiving cards and a table tent to enrich your holiday celebration. May the joy of giving surround you this season.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Please keep Glenmary and its missions
in your prayers and know that you are in our prayers.