by Natalie Helfrick, from Sacramento (CA)
Last September, Heart’s Home Bangkok reached the 20-year mark, becoming the 2nd of the 41 Heart’s Homes worldwide to do so. On January 7, we celebrated this exciting moment in the life of Heart’s Home with Mass in the square outside our house, followed by some time for simple food and friendship. Fr. Peter Tiberghien, visiting from the Garden of Mercy in India, presided; a friend from the diocesan youth ministry office guided our Thai musical worship; and a diverse array of our friends celebrated this beautiful Mass of Thanksgiving. As with all the other Heart’s Homes around the world, we come to form true friendships with the people God gives us- rejoicing when they rejoice, weeping when they weep, loving them by sharing their life and giving our time, especially to those who are alone and suffer most.
Heart’s Home Bangkok has been blessed with a uniquely diverse friend base. It is a beautiful witness to Fr. Thierry’s hope that Heart’s Home will serve the ecclesial communion of the Church and his desire for unity “in the form of time spent communally, so as to learn how to be rid of our prejudices, to learn how to know each other, to love, pray, and work together.” The Mass and lunch following brought together Thai Buddhists and Christians from our neighborhood, refugees from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Rwanda, and expatriate families from the local English, French, and Latin American Catholic parishes- a beautiful collection of people from so many different races, cultures, languages, social backgrounds, and life circumstances. It was a celebration of lasting bonds formed among so many people whose paths might not otherwise cross. As a Heart’s Home community, we came to a deeper understanding of our identity as “Point-Coeur”: a meeting point in the Heart of God where all are welcomed and loved. The day was a privileged opportunity for us to recognize and give thanks for the fruit that God continues to bear through our simple presence. Rich in love, it was truly a foretaste of the heavenly banquet!