September 6, 2016

Dear Friends of Unity Acres,

Credence did a song back in the 60’s “Who’ll stop the rain”? That’s what we were wondering the morning of August 21 as we should have been setting up the table/Altar getting ready for Mass in the front yard. Instead we readied our Sacred Heart Chapel and before long the faithful began making their way into “B” Building wearing rain coats and under umbrellas. When the McCarthys arrived and began to set up for our music, someone asked will we be “Singing in the Rain”. Twelve o’clock came, Father Jones and his two servers made their entrance, and filling the Chapel were strains of “Harvest of Justice” – the theme for this year’s picnic and Mass:

“May we find richness in the harvest of justice which Christ Jesus has ripened for us. Bread for the journey, bread for the hungry, all for the glory and praise of God. Gather with patience for those who have nothing, leave them your riches and you will receive. Make room for the poor ones, make way for the stranger, for I am the Lord, the Lord our God.

The Mass Programs bore the names of three giants who stood for Peace and Justice and who passed on the past year. We paused to remember these three men during this special celebration. Jerry Berrigan and his brother Father Dan Berrigan were taken not quite a year apart, Jerry died July 26, 2015 and Father Dan on April 30, 2016 and on August 5 of this year 2016, Bob Belge passed on the day after his 86th birthday. These men followed their consciences in standing up for justice and peace. It was not uncommon to learn that the Berrigans were under arrest after protesting war, or other injustices.   Bob & Jerry helped the marginalized at the old “Ox” or Jail Ministry and many more ministries including here at Unity Acres. Rest in peace gentlemen, the world misses you.

The first reading from Isaiah 2 speaks to us that all nations shall stream toward the highest mountain, to the house of Jacob, that He may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

The second reading from the Letter of Paul to the Colossians speaks of setting aside our old selves and putting on a new person, one who grows in the knowledge of being formed anew in the image of our Creator. Clothe ourselves with heartfelt mercy and bearing with one another forgiving whatever grievances we may have against each other, as the Lord has forgiven us. Put on love for Christ’s peace must reign in our hearts for as members of the one body, we have been called to that peace.

John’s Gospel tells of Jesus reminding us that “Peace” is his farewell to us, Peace is His gift to us, not as the world gives but as He gives.

During the Offertory we sing the Prayer of St. Francis: “Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred, let me bring your love”. At Communion we meditate on the beautiful words being sung “Dona Nobis Pacem”, give us peace God, peace for all and after the Final Blessing by our Presider, Father Bob Jones, we join in singing  “Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me”. A beautiful Mass is ended and it is time to brave the elements and proceed over to the STAR Building for a plentiful picnic prepared by men of Unity Acres and assisted by a couple of our ladies!

One of our friends wrote later in the week, that he “took the boat over to the dining room” – it was a wet one but we needed the rain badly and it therefore was appreciated. Many spoke of how blessed we are in this area with our weather. Floods and forest fires rage in other parts of the country.

Every year after so much preparation on the part of all, we experience this annual picnic and Mass and can usually be heard saying, this is the best one yet. This year was no exception. We were told the food was the best this year. And so it goes. In all circumstances, we are to give thanks. We try to and did this August as we celebrated this annual affair, in which we invite all our many supporters to join us at table as we give thanks for your friendship and many gifts, both in kind, in prayer and monetarily. You are appreciated. We exist only because of your help along with the good Lord’s.

At the Prayer of the Faithful, Father Jones offered prayers of thanksgiving, profound thanks for God’s infinite generosity to us and prayed for Peace and Justice in our homes and throughout this war-torn world. And Deb Carnes reads Father’s petitions:

That Unity Acres may always be a home of peace, where    “Swords are beaten into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks”

That our ministry may help to make broken persons whole again ― A UNITY of “Body & Spirit”

That we may be inspired by the generous example of our benefactors in countless ways, that God will bless them

That the scourge of addiction be removed from this world, and that we conquer all instruments of violence and give way    to instruments of peace

That all our suffering people may be given the gifts of healing and peace

For all the departed, especially of our families, and for the men of Unity Acres who have gone before us.

All present firmly respond to each of these petitions, “Lord hear our prayer”. And Father continues, “Loving God, we pray that these prayers will rise up to you, who are our comfort and our strength and we pray to Christ our Risen Lord”.   AMEN

Peg McCarthy,
For the Unity Acres Community