Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On the Feast of St. Andre Bessette

The Roman calendar being a sentient creature (oh, wait) gave me the opportunity to get into the meat of liturgical living ('cause Advent and Christmas are easy, yo) with a bang. Since we celebrated the Epiphany on Sunday, we were able to celebrate the feast of St. Andre Bessette yesterday. In our house, though, we know him as Br. Andre.


Br. Andre is the first member of the Congregation of Holy Cross (you know them because they run Notre Dame) to be canonized. He is also the patron of Andre House, a homeless hospitality center in downtown Phoenix, where Charles did a year of service as a core staff member before beginning medical school, and where we both did a lot of hours of service in our pre-kids years. Our wedding Mass was even celebrated by the organization's current director (thanks, Fr. Eric!!), who got to serve as an EM at Br. Andre's canonization Mass in Rome.

From our living room: Top: Br. Andre Bottom: Christ of the Breadlines (end of service gift to core staff members)

In addition to providing such services to Phoenix's large homeless community (especially in the winter, thanks to the warm weather) as clothing, showers, shade, and a place to make phone calls, Andre House serves 500-700 meals (and not infrequently more), 6 nights a week. Charles and I both look forward to a time when our kids are old enough to help prep food and hand out cups of water -- learning along the way just how essential service really is to the Christian life. And that we really are all children of God, each made in His image, no matter how visible our brokenness may be.

Our feasting this year really is going to focus on feasting -- sharing through food and conversation the lives and witness of the saints, and asking for their intercession. That's my style.

Anyway, I asked Charles last weekend which Andre House meal he'd most like me to honor for Br. Andre's feast day. He told me that, since it was Monday, he'd like Monday's meal: a take on chicken a la king. At Andre House, the same meals have been served each night of the week for more years than you'd like to know.

Charles and the rest of his core staff with Bishop Olmsted -  Via
Since I'd never really seen Monday's hot dish made, I did a little research and improvisation and pulled together something that was deemed "pretty close" and which Clare scarfed down. I served it along side green beans and salad. As I finished cooking and as we ate, we took advantage of the opportunity to reminisce on time at Andre House, its rituals, and to pray for the ministry, its staff, and its continued success.

Clare's plate reminded me of the trays dinner is served on at Andre House.

St. Br. Andre, pray for us.

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