A fire last night at The Alfred-Washburn Center in Pensacola badly damaged the facility, leaving the homeless population of Pensacola with one less avenue for aid in a time when they need it the most. The Washburn Center is a ministry of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and it provides food, clothing, showers, toiletries, laundry and mail services for the homeless. As temperatures plummeted to below 50 today, dozens of men and women arrived at the center today only to find part of the property littered with debris and charred from flames. “Obviously we’re closed and in a recovery phase,” said Chuck Porter, the center’s director. “We’ve been here all morning recovering everything we can.” The fire started from an unknown cause last night around 8 p.m. last night. Firefighters extinguished the blaze shortly after 8:30 p.m., but the service area of the facility was destroyed. “It’s going to leave a gap in the community,” Porter said. The volunteers at the center have been coordinating with the Waterfront Rescue Mission and other organizations to continue supplying the homeless with vital services, but Porter said it would take a large community effort to be sure the homeless aren’t literally left out in the cold. “When we lose a facility like this, it is their loss,” he said. “We have to work together to get them back on their feet as soon as we can.” Anyone who would like to make a donation to The Alfred-Washburn Center can do so at the organization’s website, www.alfredwashburn.org. story from the Pensacola News Journal
On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Pope Francis launched a worldwide movement to respond to the needs of the poor and vulnerable in our midst by praying and acting to end hunger. At noon local time on December 10th, a global wave of prayer began on the Island of Samoa and progressed around the world in each time zone until it reached the island again some 24 hours and more than 164 countries later. You are invited to join the global church and pray this prayer at noon wherever you are on December 10th, or at any time. The wave of prayer is the first step of a longer campaign organized by Caritas Internationalis to work toward an end to hunger. Catholic Relief Services has new webpage resources and ideas to help you to participate in this global campaign on December 10th and beyond.
Text of Pope Francis video (translated to English).
Beginning the Church's liturgical year, Advent (from, "ad-venire" in Latin or "to come to") is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas. The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas). Advent devotions including the Advent wreath, remind us of the meaning of the season. Our Advent calendar above can help you fully enter in to the season with daily activity and prayer suggestions to prepare you spiritually for the birth of Jesus Christ. More Advent resources are available here.
A Mass will be held in the 17th century reconstructed church at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee on Sunday, December 15 at 2:00 pm. Bishop Gregory L. Parkes will be principal celebrant with area clergy concelebrating. A children’s Las Posadas reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem will take place from Noon to 1:00 pm. You and your family are invited to join the reenactment procession, either in costume or not. Entrance fee to the Mission will be waived. Contact 850-245-6406 with any questions.