Joan Gallagher, SP
Over the years I have enjoyed volunteering in parish ministry as a Eucharistic Minister, serving on Liturgy committees, facilitating a Single Mom’s Spirituality group, working on committees for parish events, participating in parish service days and preparing food for the homeless.
In 2013, I signed up to join a group of ten parishioners to take part in Good News People, a fourteen-week program that explores and deepens the call to discipleship by incorporating Scripture, inspirational readings, reflections, Church social teachings and stories of faith. The program stresses the corporal and spiritual works of mercy through immersion experiences to learn first-hand about the struggles people face. It was a very enriching program and I met so many wonderful parishioners. Eight of us continue meeting each Advent and Lent for prayer, faith sharing, and outreach. We have become great friends in the process.
After I finished my roles with the Mother Joseph Province Leadership Team in 2019, I was so excited to have more time to volunteer at my parish. But Covid-19 struck and so much closed down.
What a blessing Advent 2022 as events and gatherings began again at Our Lady of Guadalupe in West Seattle. A wonderful woman in our group, Kelley McKenzie, became the Outreach Coordinator for the parish.
She recruited the seven of us to help her restart many of our past projects. They included Shoeboxes of Joy with Catholic Community Services and Catholic Charities. Parishioner are invited to prepared boxes with Christmas items and decorate them for homebound seniors. We listed possible items to purchased, displayed samples and then gathered the boxes.
We prepared, ordered and set up the parish Holiday Gift Fair which sold ethically sourced foods and gifts from developing nations especially Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
The group organized and prepared the parish Giving Tree with tags of gifts for families at Santa Teresita low-income family housing, the Archdiocesan Seafarers’ Ministry, Sanislo Elementary School and St. Vincent de Paul.
And a very fun activity was to help organize the Advent Wreath Making for parish families. Sisters at Caritas volunteered to help clean and prepare the candles used.
As we moved into the Lenten 2023, I continued on the parish Safe Parking Hospitality Committee. Our women’s group has participated in Reflect and Renew: Encountering Christ this Lent, a five week scripture based program to help us as we journey through Lent and prepare parishes for the Partners in the Gospel process. Who knows how this process will change parish life!
It has been a gift to be part of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish since 1994 which promotes so many of the works of mercy and ministries of the Sisters of Providence. These wonderful parishioners have become real partners and friends as we try to be the face to Christ in our world today.