Jesus, Lord, condemned, defiled, May we too be meek and mild
As we tread your holy Way. May we feel no bitter hatred,
When we too are persecuted, left alone to walk with you.
Our Dear Friends of Unity Acres,
This afternoon as we sang the above words to the tune of Stabat Mater, beginning our weekly Friday Stations of the Cross here in our Sacred Heart Chapel, we had just come down the hall from the latest empassioned discussion concerning how best to respond to and comply with communications received from the New York State Health Department during the last months. This coming Thursday, March 3, 2016, we will be recalling and celebrating 47 years of Unity Acres being here in this place, home to thousands of men over these years since Father McVey founded Unity Acres in 1969 and coming here on March 3 of that year with the first five men.
Father Ray saw the homeless men on the streets of Syracuse when he was a young priest in St. Lucy’s Parish. Through his early supporters he acquired the abandoned Oswego County TB Hospital and came here with those few men and began to restore the buildings to transform the former hospital into a home for otherwise homeless men. We have been told by many, many men that they have been across the country and that that there is no other place like Unity Acres. People call and ask about “our program” and we tell them there is no program. Unity Acres is a home, we live here as family, as community. Men from all over call Unity Acres home and often return here and just this morning, received a call that a former resident had died in Oswego and had left word that he wanted to be buried at Unity Acres. Calls like this come in every so often. St. Martin de Porres Cemetery up the path and on the edge of our woods is “home” to many men who have made Unity Acres their home following their addictions and life on the streets and under bridges.
May our sympathy for Jesus, turn to those who
here now need us, may we see Christ bruised in them.
Father McVey, Kate Stanton, Bill Spurrier and Carol Guthrie and many others before ourselves did just that. They saw Jesus in these men who have been bruised by the horrors of alcohol and drug addiction. We have followed in the footsteps of these giants who founded Unity Acres and we try hard to follow.
The Sixth Station: “Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.” We adore you, O Christ, and we praise You, because by your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world. “Lord when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and take you in, or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick…” And answering the king will say to them, “Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me.” (Matt 25, 40) This sixth station and the words of Matthew 25 really hit home. For it is this direction of Jesus that brings us here to Unity Acres. Twenty-five years ago we came here to follow in Father McVey’s footsteps, following Jesus in His footsteps as he trod the Way of the Cross.
We pray that we will be able to continue for a long time to maintain this home for so many men who have been pushed aside by society and many estranged from their families because of the terrible addictions that plague them.
13th Station, The Body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross. O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them and I will bring you back to your land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. O my people I will put my spirit in you that you may live. You shall know then that I am the Lord. I have promised it, and I will do it, says the Lord. (Ezek 37, 12-14)
And so there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Stone is rolled away. There must be Good Friday before Resurrection.
As we continue to try to make our way through this Holy Season of Lent, we will keep our eyes on Easter Sunday, when the “Stone is rolled away”, we will see the Glory of God and the “Son” will shine brightly over our home here up Route 2 between Richland and Orwell, as John Cadley’s song, says, “Up Where the Men Go”.
May each and every one of you continue this Holy Lenten Season and enjoy a Glorious Easter Sunday.
For the Unity Acres Community
PRAYERS: LENT TO EASTER
“Be merciful O Lord, for we have sinned” Psalm 51
“Now is the acceptable time, now is the Day of Salvation” 2 Cor. 5
You call us Lord to “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel” … from the Ash Wednesday Liturgy
Jesus, our Redeemer, as we go from Lent into Easter, (Winter into Spring),
Send us Your Spirit, we pray.
May we remember Your infinite love, which these Holy
Seasons celebrate. In a world all too often a place of
death, may Your Spirit empower us to make it a place
of Life — New life in You.
Grant, O Lord, that our Easter season will be a time
Of great joy for all, for The Lord Has Risen!! Alleluia!!
Father Robert Jones