colleen grottoSpiritual and material food. In last week’s Gospel, Jesus fed the hungry crowd with the miracle of the loaves and fishes. In this week’s Gospel, he tells his followers that he is the answer to their spiritual hunger. We follow in Jesus’ footsteps through the Community Service Ministry at St. Dominic’s Church. At the Lima Center, our guests come in hungry and are fed by Pablito’s oatmeal and nurtured by Carol’s kind and dedicated service. The Lima Center community of guests, many of whom are homeless, parish volunteers, and staff begin each day with the offerings of food and friendship—to feed both material and spiritual hunger.

So too, the families who seek our assistance with food, rent or utilities. Through your generosity, we are able to help these families meet their material needs. That is not all that happens in our meetings however. I tell the families that this assistance is a gift of this parish and then they know that they are not alone. Through the caring of this parish, they are connected to community—to this spiritual home.

Parish members carry this mission of feeding spiritual and material hunger both inside and outside the parish via the many other outreach activities of Community Service:

  • Grief & Consolation Ministry
  • Detention Ministry
  • Eucharist Ministry to Catholics in any of the 6 Convalescent Hospitals and CPMC
  • The Sandwich Program in which parish members prepare bag lunches for those in transitional housing
  • Second Spring shares of food and friendship
  • The Social Justice Committee offers opportunities to learn about and engage in justice activities.


193This model of Church where spiritual and material needs are met has always been how I experience my baptismal call. I believe that we are called to community and I am so grateful to be a part of so many blessed communities—Lima Center, St. Dominic’s Parish, my beloved Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, and the wider Dominican Family. Growing up, I was nurtured in my concern for all members of our Church and neighborhoods. My mother worked in public health and my father in vocational rehabilitation—they provided vital services to those most in need in various communities and talked about how we as citizens and Catholics should work to alleviate poverty and suffering through direct service and by our work to change unjust systems. These beliefs brought me to ministry on college campuses and to justice education which, in turn, led me to Doctoral Studies in Adult Education in which I focused on justice work in poor communities.

How have you been fed in your life? Did a family member, mentor, teacher or priest encourage you and support you on your path? Who are you called to feed this week? A child? Co-worker? Friend? Remember that we are called to live out both Gospels—to feed both hungers. We must listen deeply to how God is inviting us. Today, I invite you to join me in praying for all our neighbors and parish members who do not have enough resources. Let us continue to share both material and spiritual food—to follow the Way of Jesus and the apostles.


I would like to invite you to two more opportunities to consider how to address spiritual and material hunger:

  • On August 15, we celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Lima Center. If you have given any donations throughout the year of at Christmas or volunteered at any time in the past 10 years, please come and celebrate.
  • On August 13, join the Hunger Banquet: 65% of children in our public schools receive free or subsidized lunches, but only about half of these kids receive food assistance in the summer. Come to the Hunger Banquet to learn more about hunger. Proceeds benefit the Lima Center.

~ Sr. Colleen McDermott, O.P.

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