Serving Our Northside Pittsburgh Neighbors at the Light of Life Rescue Mission
By Deacon Kevin Bezner, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma
Just returned from Thanksgiving break, not long into the Philip’s Fast, six seminarians of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, including myself, joined Marc Grant, the Seminary’s food service controller, in feeding about 150 hungry men, women, and children at the Light of Life Rescue Mission on the Northside of Pittsburgh. Marc said he chose Light of Life so that we could have a direct experience of serving our less fortunate
Our experience began after lunch in the Seminary’s kitchen, where we gathered to help Marc prepare and cook large trays of chicken, pasta with meat sauce, and broccoli. Once the food was ready, we loaded up our cars for the short drive to the mission. On the way, we stopped at Breadworks, a local bakery, to pick up bags of fresh baked rolls for the meal.
After a tour of the mission we set up the food line and tables for two evening meals, one for the mission’s residents and one for men, women, and children seeking a hot meal. As we served the hungry, we were moved by the joy of the children as they ate and the gratitude of the men and women for the meal we helped prepare.
While we could not help but feel heavy in heart for the suffering they endure in their daily lives, we were also filled with hope. We had heard and witnessed a number of the success stories of those who had come in for a meal, stayed for the resident program, and left with a greater sense of personal responsibility and the skills to manage and change their lives with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Later, at our own evening meal of a greater amount of food in more comfortable surroundings, each of us expressed our joy in serving our neighbors as a Seminary team, and our hope that serving the less fortunate at Light of Life would become a regular pastoral
formation activity for seminarians.
Deacon Kevin Bezner is in his final year of formation at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary.