Saint Angela Merici has been preparing for the Year of Mercy since August 2015 through Parish Catechesis, Faith Formation, and Ritual Rites in the hope that this time of grace would enable the community to begin to open their lives to enter into the heart of mercy. Both religious and civil observances highlighted the parishes’ preparation such as September 11th, the Dignity of Life, All Saints/All Souls, and most recently the Veterans’ of its parish.
Saint Angela Merici High School Leadership Team, Fire, made the collaborate decision to help an organization beyond the community to enable its youth to become more cognizant of the needs that exists outside Saint Angela. The organization that was chosen was Pets for Vets as part of the Parishes’ preparation for the Year of Mercy and its decision to honor our Veterans in November. Pets for Vets mission is to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by using the power of the human-animal bond to provide a second chance for shelter animals by rescuing, training and pairing them with America’s servicemen and women who could benefit from having a companion animal. Each veteran pet match can require up to $2,000 in costs and goes toward adoption fees, micro-chipping, shots, spay/neuter, training, veterinary care, food and a welcome package that provides everything needed for the pet. All of this is provided at no cost to the veteran. All funds directly assist with the pairing and no funds are diverted toward overhead or the firm’s expenses.
The Confirmation Core Ministry (Kristi Biederman, Daniel Serna, Liz Serna, and Katherine Biederman) and Fire were able to raise from Saint Angela Merici $7,500 for the Pets For Vets organization, that will be utilized to provide matches across the Southern California area. On Sunday, November 15, 2015 the parish welcomed Bob Horrell, a Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart recipient and dog trainer for the Pets For Vets Ventura County Chapter, along with Allen Ghimenti, Sr., a Vietnam Veteran from Thousand Oaks, and Jet Star his trained companion dog. Veteran’s were honored at all the Sunday Eucharists and particularly at the 5:00 PM Youth Eucharist in which Father Michael Dwight presided and Bob, Allen, and Jet Star were blessed and affirmed by the community. This day of preparation for the Year of Mercy truly enable the parish to continue to enter into the heart of mercy by becoming aware of how mercy can transform and change lives.