An intriguing question would be: how instrumental is the virtue of hope in the advance of the Lord’s Kingdom?
Is it indispensable? Can progress occur in its absence? If its role is critical, how does it work its wonders? Does it engender more hope where none existed before? Does it promote or follow faith and charity? Must it begin as a powerful and formidable force that gets people’s attention like the proverbial two-by-four and the stubborn mule, or can it begin like the tiny, seemingly insignificant mustard seed that incrementally and almost imperceptibly grows into an enormous bush with many expected (and unexpected) ramifications? Are the words ‘thy kingdom come’ an expression of hope?
Hope. The single hope that prompted the creation of Mary Mother of Hope House three decades ago has inspired – perhaps the word should be ‘begotten’
Anyone intrigued by these questions will find much to ponder in the history of The Ministry of Caring, Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware. As its website (www.ministryofcaring.org) explains, this is a non-profit, ecumenical organization devoted to serving poor, homeless and disadvantaged people in and around Wilmington, offering the food, shelter, job training and placement, child care, basic medical and dental care, a residence for people living with AIDS, and clothing and household goods for those in need.
Under the dynamic and charismatic leadership of its executive director, the legendary Brother Ronald Giannone, OFM Cap, the seedling that grew into The Ministry of Caring took root in the City of Wilmington in 1977 with the creation of an emergency shelter for homeless and destitute women. Tellingly, and as it turns out prophetically, the residence was and is named Mary Mother of Hope House.
This was more than 30 years ago. Now in 2010 there are more than two dozen interwoven programs under the aegis of The Ministry of Caring providing food, shelter, job training, health and dental care, child care, and advocacy for men, women and children whose circumstances are dire and dehumanizing, or who simply need temporary help to get on with their lives.
All this is made possible by the extraordinary collaboration among more than ninety churches, synagogues and mosques, and by many, many volunteers and staff who operate the organization’s numerous sites (almost 30) in and around the city. The financial support that makes these inspiring ministries possible comes from personal and corporate donations and from creative fund-raising events.
As the website states, and as most folk in the Diamond State know, the staff and volunteers of The Ministry of Caring serve the poor by offering them not only the necessities of life – food, shelter and employment – but also by helping restore their sense of self worth and hope for the future.
Hope. The single hope that prompted the creation of Mary Mother of Hope House three decades ago has inspired – perhaps the word should be ‘begotten’ – that generous and fruitful hope that today restores and promotes the human dignity not only of those countless individuals and families The Ministry of Caring serves, but – as important – also of those many volunteers, donors and staff who willingly engage themselves in this advance of the Kingdom.