For over a year, the West Philadelphia Assumption community has opened its doors, welcoming neighbors and parishioners to be crafty. Some members of St. Francis de Sales Parish wanted to start a crafts ministry. Sister Francis Joseph, R.A. was asked to host a daytime group. Sister agreed to host a crafts faith-sharing group weekly for Lent 2009.
Knitters and crocheters have been meeting afternoons twice a month for over a year now. The number attending varies, from a handful to a dozen. The meeting starts with a prayer, then individuals work on various projects.
The initial project was to craft hats and scarves for an immigrant parish family whose parents were being reunited with their eight children after six long years. Then a few afghans followed. The recipients of the crafts outreach have been many and varied. The I.H.M. Literacy Center has a crafts member, Sister Alma, I.H.M., who knew of one student expecting a baby soon. Sister Alma also visits the local nursing home. Lap robes have gone there. Another member, Fran Byers, suggested an Appalachian mission run by a religious sister in Eastern Kentucky. Hats and scarves for children went there. The local parish outreach center was another destination for hats and scarves. Also, some warm items were sent to an Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Our next outreach is to the local V.A. nursing home in West Philadelphia.
The crafts ministry has made prayer shawls, chemo caps, granny squares and baby items, to name a few. With help from friends, crochet classes began at the parish outreach center, including donations of yarn and hooks. There is no end to the need, nor to the enthusiasm of the crafters! Yarn donations have arrived from parishioners, Sisters and, once, a woman driving past. One knitting contributor lives in Texas and is delighted to send her hats to help others. Another attends with her seeing-eye dog, because she is blind. The parish crafts coordinator, Paula Harvey, gathers free charity patterns from the Internet. She looks for easy-to-do patterns.
Sister Charlotte has branched out from years of making booties to making afghans and hats. To her, this is a very pro-life exercise, as people at West Catholic H.S. follow her projects with great interest.
Many of the crafters are among the seniors of the community. God has given them an active way to help others with humor and fellowship along the way. All donations are gratefully accepted. A recipient will be found.
Thank you to Paula Harvey for having written this article.