Feeding the poor? Let’s see your permit.

How hard can it get to feed the poor? Pretty hard.

Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.
That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their “Feed a Friend” effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one.
“We don’t really know what they want, we just think that they don’t want us down there feeding people,” said Bobby Herring, a Christian rapper who goes by the stage name Tre9.

And Kathy Barton, Houston’s spokeswoman for the Houston HHS department said this:

The regulations are all the more essential in the case of the homeless… because “poor people are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness and also are the least likely to have access to health care.”

Pretty outrageous that private citizens are forced to stop doing charitable work because the government assumes the worst if you don’t have the magic permit.
The silver lining here is that the Houston city council is talking about adjusting the statute so that people like the Herrings are exempt.

A New Creation

One of the small blessings of this Advent is we are less than a year away from the new translation of the Mass, and most US parishes will retire the “Mass of Creation.” Adaptations of the acclamations we are all familiar with to fit the new translation are going to be a hard sell on folks who are in the habit of singing them the old way.
It’s a great time to revisit the real classics – Gregorian Chant, and a great time to be a composer.
Let’s hope the next crop of modern liturgical music has more reverence and less Disney!

Extraordinary Form Mass

RC published some clips from this EF Mass that I filmed last year. We finally have the whole video available online. Enjoy!

Little pink shoes

This little pink shoes were next to the $300 Italian loafers on the counter. In the shoe repair shop, two other men and a bored looking woman were picking up fancy leather handbags or resoled dress shoes. I was picking up the Hatchbacks with the Velcro on the sides.
“Those are mine.” I said as I picked them up, the other people in the foyer smiling that I was picking up the little pink shoes. I was sure those were the only shoes for a four year old girl in the whole place.
See most moms and dads just get a new pair. But Teresa and I – well these are special shoes, and if we can get them repaired, that’s another thing we don’t need to spend top dollar on for my girl.
I didn’t know this before I had a daughter who needed special shoes. Anything “medical” costs extra. The stroller with the harness so she won’t double over and fall out – extra. The bed with the rails so she won’t roll out – extra. Her wheel chair with the fancy tray, seat that can be set to recline, and shock absorbers – that was made in Germany and had the decimal point moved to the right to prove it.
“No charge” the clerk said, after consulting with Mario – the owner and the guy who told me to come get them after lunch today. I had dropped them off this morning, knowing Mario could fix them and I wouldn’t have to spend $80 on another pair of shoes.
And Mario, he must have seen those little shoes, designed to fit around the little plastic ankle braces (called DAFOS) and thought I could use a break. I didn’t *need* the break. I just appreciated that he appreciated it. A few minutes on the sewing machine would normally be $18. But maybe he looked at those little shoes and thought, special shoes for a special girl – I’ll do my part.
So I’ll be back to Mario’s place, to get my loafers resoled or a leather bag fixed. Because that’s the kind of guy I want to do business with. When you have a big heart, it’s not always about the cash. Sometimes you just need to fix a pair of little pink shoes. The little girl who will wear them can’t walk on her own now, but someday she will, and it will be partly because she had the right shoes on today.
That’s the kind of thing you always remember, and appreciate.