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It saddens me to announce to you all that there won't be Friday evening Lenten Fish Fries this year. This doesn't mean that there will be no more fish fries in years to come, but it does indicate that there is important work of communication and reconciliation that needs to be done. It has been a significant and tumultuous year for relations between St. Joseph Parish and St. Vincent de Paul Place. The agreement whereby the diocese would take legal ownership of the building and thereby fund its restoration, has taken painfully long. A smoldering anger on the part of both sides has been with us for a long time, but recently, it has erupted in several very open hurtful interchanges. Unfortunately, efforts to heal the relationship and bring about better harmony haven't produced results. People from the parish and the soup kitchen find it hard to talk about our situation with each other in a healing way. As a result, while the parish could force the St. Vincent de Paul Place to host our Lenten suppers, but it would be a the cost of deepening resentments rather than healing them. So, I am calling for the parish to wait until we are all able to talk with one another kindly and respectfully as brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be able to do this, but it will take time, prayer and attention. As a first step, I ask that you keep open on your calendars our patronal feast, Tuesday, March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph.

For an evening of prayer: Mass, adoration, and intercession. This first step in prayer for healing is intended to be prayer for light and courage to follow Christ's call and example. It is a step we need to take before we take the next step of real and respectful dialogue with St. Vincent de Paul Place.

God Bless You,

Fr. Washabaugh

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