As he stood in front of the massive collection of clothes, Fr. Paul Sullivan, pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Portland, had a simple question for the hundreds of students standing in front him.
“Do you think St. Brigid would be happy to see this?”
From each boy and girl came a resounding “Yes!”
Fr. Sullivan blessed the boxes and boxes of clothes, donated by members of the St. Brigid School community for those in need at the Preble Street Resource Center, at a schoolwide assembly in the parking lot on Stevens Avenue on Wednesday afternoon, February 2 (additional pictures below). The service project was part of the school’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week.
“It’s a blessing to have all the things we have,” said Ben, a fifth grader. “I feel like everyone should do it. People should have the things they need, and we can help.”
“It feels good,” added Providence, also in the fifth grade. “Some people don’t have anything, so it’s good and really important to give back.”
“We should all be grateful for all the things we get from Jesus,” said Mallory, a first grader. “It feels good to help people.”
The blessing was the renewal of a beloved tradition in Ireland, where St. Brigid is said to walk the earth on her feast day (February 1). Before going to bed, people leave a piece of clothing outside for her to bless.
On Wednesday, Fr. Sullivan did the honors as many of the students, proud at the generosity they’d shared, beamed and applauded.
“May they be protected and warmed by these clothes,” said Fr. Sullivan, “and our love.”