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 A casual thrift store purchase by Father Gino Galley turned into a heart-warming ecumenical exchange between the The Holy Name of Jesus parish in Redlands and a Presbyterian church in Chicago.

 Fr. Galley had stumbled across a pencil drawing of Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago while browsing in a thrift store several months ago. He purchased it and intrigued, Fr. Gino researched the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Google and decided to send the artwork back to their congregation. He also saw the outreach as an opportunity to express prayer and solidarity with this faith community during a difficult year.

 “We just want to let you know that we love you, we are praying for you and the love of Christ is with you,” Fr. Galley, Parochial Vicar at The Holy Name of Jesus, wrote in his letter to the Chicago church.

 In addition to sending the drawing to Fourth Presbyterian Church, he asked students from the parish school, Sacred Heart Academy, to create homemade “cards of love” for Fourth Presbyterian’s parishioners so they would know God’s care for them in the isolation of the pandemic. In all the students created 30 different hand-written notes and cards. One read, “it’s all going to be OK. If we stick together we can get through this.”

 The picture and, especially the cards from the Sacred Heart Academy students, struck a chord with Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner, the Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago.

 “Those notes from the kids were like the hot cakes and water the angels left for the prophet Elijah,” Rev. Kershner wrote in an email to The Holy Name of Jesus this month. “They were simply nourishment for our souls that will give us the courage to keep going.”

 Rev. Kershner was so touched by the expressions of care and love for her congregation that she shared some of the students’ love notes during her livestream sermon on Gaudete Sunday.

 Miracles and joy abound whenever Christians share the hope and joy of the Gospel. As Fr. Galley shared, “their joy is our joy, too; it is a reminder that as disciples of Christ, we choose joy.” Whether we reach out by phone or send a card, joyful love is ours to share in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.