Spotlight: Parishioners Living Out Their Faith
Hello I am Libby Gatti and I am entering my fifth year of working on the pastoral care team with the MANNA Community and my second year in a Master's in Divinity program at Boston University. MANNA stands for "Many Angels Needed Now and Always," and is a ministry of and with the homeless community of Downtown Boston. We are a ministry of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Through MANNA, we seek not only to welcome folks across differences of class, wealth, culture, race and mental/physical ability, but also to empower all people to claim their place as essential members of the community. Often folks out on the street are considered for what they lack, and often there is much lacking: housing, healthcare, money, stability, the list goes on. We at MANNA try to consider not only what we each may lack, but what gifts we have to offer. Someone may be a great writer, and contribute to our quarterly magazine The Pilgrim. Someone may love to sing, and thus join our choir. Someone might be particularly patient, and so sit with a person who is having a rough day during our weekly meal. One of the many blessings of being a community mostly of homeless people is that it is hard to forget the depths of our need for each other - and for Jesus most of all!
This is one of the deep learnings I have received from the community and something foundational to my understanding of social justice: it can be tempting to believe (and try to make manifest in my life!) the idea that I am self-sufficient, that I am “put together,” or that, though I may appreciate company, I do not need anyone. Our community reminds me that, in fact, each one of us is essential to the body of Christ. We are not, any one of us, simply placed into categories of the “helpers” and the “helped," but rather: we all have gifts to give and to receive. We need each other. And this is why we gather each week to serve, to pray, and to create together. I hope you will consider joining us sometime!