The front-page story about Fr. Rafferty’s decision to stop hosting the So Others May Eat meals at Mary, Star of the Sea Church in The Village for the homeless and hungry is sobering and disheartening.
Regardless of how you feel about his decision on moral or spiritual grounds, it seems the pastor made it with pressure from community leaders and his parishioners. No doubt, he lost a few nights’ sleep over the difficult, controversial decision. It surely begs the wisdom of Solomon and the question of whether it signals a precedent.
This year, the public-safety issue over feeding those who live on the streets was escalated by the Hepatitis A outbreak that added a public health factor to the ongoing concern. Along the coast, many residents of Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach have also been calling for their church pastors to cancel (or regulate) their meals programs in the hope of eliminating the presence of the addicts and traveling homeless people the free meals draw to surrounding neighborhoods. One Crown Pointer’s petition on change.org to curtail the “homeless feeds” in Pacific Beach has garnered 480 signatures thus far.
However, these voices are quickly challenged by those claiming more compassionate hearts who recite the adage: “There but for the Grace of God, go I,” attributed to evangelical preacher and martyr John Bradford (1510-1555) who is said to have uttered the expression when seeing criminals being led to the scaffold.
In any case, the Light acknowledges the very compassionate heart of La Jollan Tresha Souza, and all the other volunteers at So Other May Eat. They have untold success stories about the down-and-out lives they’ve touched over the years as they provided food to the hungry.
Know that their story and good works have not ended. Souza has begun to search for a new home for the meals programs. In support, we remind her of another prophetic adage: “As one door closes another opens,” attributed to inventor Alexander Graham Bell.
If you have suggestions for Souza, So Others May Eat can be reached at (858) 900-1275, someinc.org or 9222 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 92123.