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On April 27, 2001, our beloved Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Indianapolis suffered a $1 million electrical fire. For almost two years, we were forced to celebrate Mass in our parish hall down the street. On occasion, a homeless person from nearby downtown would amble in and halfway participate in the Mass. But, more often than not, they would leave after a short time.
On Christmas Eve, the snow was falling at a fast pace. The parish hall was full, and Mass had just started when two homeless men came in and sat down. One was obviously Catholic and followed along perfectly, while the other just sat there quietly and finally left early.
When the Mass was over, the other man left and was walking toward downtown in the falling snow.
As we passed him in our warm car, I had my husband stop, and I went up to the man with $20 in my hand. I hugged him, and said I was glad to see him in church tonight. He immediately started crying, and said he didn’t want this kind of life anymore but didn’t know what to do. He asked me to pray for him, and off he went.
Fifteen years later, I still wonder what happened to him.
(Arleen Krebs is a member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Indianapolis.) †