V o l u m e Five - N u m b e r Six - October 2001
Sanctuary of Hope
Father Dennis Wait
Sanctuary of Hope
2601 Ridge Ave.
10 AM Tuesdays
Welcome to Fall! I want to deeply thank each one of you for all the birthday cards, prayers, good wishes, delicious meal and gifts you sent our way in September. May Jesus and Our Lady of Perpetual Help deeply bless you for your support for the ministry and for all our staff. As I reflect over these fifty-five years of life, I recall a time when I was much younger (in college) and I found myself praying over the two Kansas Cities. Today I know the Lord has answered this prayer when I see the progress we have made here and the spark of faith and deep love I see in each of you.
Having just celebrated a retreat with the Archdiocesan Charismatic Renewal Movement, the image of going to your room and praying to your Father in secret and your Father who sees in secret will reward you, sticks with me. I believe God is asking you and me to have a wonderful intimacy with Himself. The "room" in this passage from Matthew 6: 6 is that place where I can pray with God as my true self. It is the "room" where a couple first prays together; the field or forest where I sense Godís presence; the holy hour I make in a chapel or a church; a friend sharing what is on their heart and miles seem to fly by. Find that room and you will find a center in God to sustain you and those you love. This is a time for our whole nation to enter into the presence of a God who only knows how to love; to comfort; to strengthen; to teach us how to be one with ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
Since there was still so much violence going on in the Holy Land, we had to cancel our trip. I was sure looking forward to taking people there who I knew would discover the richness of their faith, like seeing the places and faces that touched the heart of God in Jesus. Maybe someday, when we can stop the killing; stop the domination; stop taking away from each other basic rights to shelter, dignity and food; we can make a pilgrimage of peace. Since I blocked out some free days to do the above, I thought it would be good for me to see if I could go to Mexico and see the tilma of Juan Diego with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Well, God has provided a way for me to do this. When I stand on that moving sidewalk in front of Our Lady(Dennis will be crawling to have more time) I will lift each of you and myself to Jesus thru a woman who calls each of us by name. Just like she did some 500 years ago when she told Juan Santiago, a catechumen, widowed, grieving for the loss of his wife and concerned for his sick uncle..."Diego, Jimmy, my son, donít worry, God will take care of you...come build a church in my honor...and many hearts will be turned to God."
When we were discerning about whether to go with this site or another, I remember how upset I was with the landfill that was on this property. Then I knew little about landfills, especially one that has fly ash in it. Several friends told me that this marred land would be like all those people who would come here. No one, not even you, Dennis, are pure completely. Wow, this hit me like a ton of bricks. Then I sensed deeply in my spirit that myself and all who would come would be a work in progress. We are all in need of healing, of forgiveness and restoration. Jesus, by His wounds, by His landfill, we are healed. Wow, Lord what a sense of humor you have and how you love to restore the ancient ruins, to rebuild the brokenhearted, and never to quench the smoldering wick or crush the broken reed.
Look at those beautiful colored leaves this Fall and look deeply into the eyes of those who love you and Iím sure you will see the face of God.
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Tom Gilbert Jr. recently retired as the first Editor of the SOH newsletter, Words of Hope. For five years he faithfully gathered (and reminded and rewrote) articles and arranged them artfully and on time, took them to the printer, delivered them to SOH and then helped to tape and ready them for mailing. He updated our mailing arrangement with bar codes and labels and in general made it possible for us to have a newsletter. For the last three years he has also set up and managed our web site that can potentially reach people all over the world. In fact we have received contributions from people who have learned about us on the web site. Donna Cermak thinks that Tom really evangelized through the web site. "His devotion to SOH and strong belief in the mission is evidenced by all of his hard work."
During his career in the Air Force, Tom was a B58 and F4 hot jet pilot. Tom was a manager for the Air Force and the State of Oklahoma. After he retired as a full colonel he worked as a consultant and taught at Donnelly College and Kansas City Community College. Tom and his wife Jean celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary this year. They have three children: Leslie, Tom III and Doug, they also have four grandchildren.
Tom and Jean met Father Dennis, Gary Schumann and Willie Etta Jennings when they were members of Our Lady and St. Rose Parish in Kansas City, KS where Tom was a lector. They were in charge of the Catechumenate program for several years and offered other information classes. They also regularly attended daily 5:00 Mass and the associated prayer group and were present at the early planning of SOH and prayer meetings at St. Mary-St. Anthony Church. Tom helped to write the original proposal to establish SOH and Jean is still a committed prayer warrior. Gary described Tom as very organized.
Tom helped Gary to organize his thinking about the data Gary is assembling for the resource file. Willie Etta said that "Tom appears to be very stiff but he really isnít when you get to know him. He is actually jolly with a keen sense of humor. He is capable in whatever he does. He shows his military background in his demeanor and the way he carries himself and the way he wants things to be done. He is a very generous person."
Bernadine also noted Tomís military ways when she said, "If youíve enjoyed the newsletter as much as I have, you can thank the ĎGeneral.í He can be difficult to work for, but he puts out an excellent product. He will be a hard act to follow." Jeff Seib expressed the great value of Tomís work over the years when he said, "It will take five people to do what Tom has been doing by himself." (At present we have two editors of the newsletter and three people who have volunteered to help Jeff Seib with the web site.) Marilyn Connolly found Tom was very fair, co-operative and forgiving except about the newsletter deadline. "He had to get the finished product to the printer on time and he had good boundaries to enable him to get this done. He always said that he was only the editor and he didnít write articles, but sometimes he did write articles and put someone elseís name on them. And he did all the boxes, wish lists and was so creative with the back page. I hope that we can be as efficient, capable and creative."
Father Dennis said that "Tom is a man of deep faith, generosity and perseverance. His love for his family is very evident. Besides being careful to cover events in the newsletter and on the web, Tom kept track of the number of Ďhitsí on the web site. He was always pleased when he needed to order a larger number of newsletters. Tom really enjoyed seeing progress at SOH as well as ministers and people of different faiths together at SOH. Sometimes Tom pitched in on work day even when he didnít feel well and was in pain." When Father Dennis noticed Tomís attention to details, and his faithfulness to attend Pastoral Council meetings, Tom was asked to be our legal advisor. Tom Schwarzenberger describes Tom as "always listening, reflecting and giving sound advice."
All of us at Sanctuary of Hope are grateful for Tomís many efforts. We look forward to spending with him in the future and ask a blessing on Tom Gilbert Junior and his family. Well done good and faithful servant!
In the years that SOH has existed, God has been so faithful with His grace, healing, strength and wisdom. We want to share some stories that give evidence of His favor and blessing. We hope that many of you will be prompted to share your "miracle" stories with us for future newsletters. As we were editing this article, Liz Litfin remarked that we are all Godís miracles and have experienced even more lifesaving grace through our times at SOH. Donna Cermak notes, "People come with a heavy heart and leave with peace having been touched by the Lord."
Then we looked at the building and grounds. Originally valued at fifteen cents a square foot, the grounds now are gardenlike with trails on all sides of the property. Several contractors advised tearing the building down. Now, six years later, though not complete, the renovation is beautifully done in most of the public areas and SOH is able to carry out its mission. Seven members of the staff live here. Twenty rooms are available for retreatants to stay overnight, either in groups or individually. Several large rooms are available for groups to use during the day. Since the building is owned by the archdiocese, we have no collateral and could not receive a loan. Therefore we have always been in the black and pay no interest. Work has been done by both volunteers and professionalsóall supported by donations, memorials and now by retreatants.
John Michael Talbot Concert
SOH planned and prayed for three years before the Concert which drew 900 people on the front lawn. People asked us what we would do in the event of bad weather? Marilyn Connolly and Bernadine Asher, the co-chairs, were given a special grace of faith to have "the peace that passes understanding" that we would have good weather. Bernadine even said, "I think it will be cool and breezy!" For a week before the concert, Kansas City had torrential downpours, soaking the lawn and parking field. But, God knew to send the drying wind and warm sun. The evening of June 25, 1999 was a picture perfect Summer eveningóeven cool and breezy. A butterfly sat on John Michael Talbotís microphone as he sang "Holy Ground."
Appreciation for our Public Servants
Money to purchase or donation of a Field and Brush Mower with Snow Blower attachment to be able to trim and clear the sidewalks and trails around Shrines at Sanctuary of Hope.
Money to purchase or donation of an ice machine for the kitchen
Money or donations of time and talent toward remodeling of Kitchen to enable us to more effectively serve the facility's needs.
Remember to call in or email your prayer requests and we will remember you in our daily prayers.