by Guilherm Martinez
In many ways, this was a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration. Kids were playing, joyful conversations and laughs resonated across the halls, songs and guitars echoed from the basement and people were bustling in the kitchen. Old and new friends had gathered at a packed Heart’s Home in Brooklyn to celebrate the New Year.
Taking turns toasting to 2011, we shared with the group what we were thankful for. Whether it was new encounters, established friendships, family, the completion of a project, faith, love or beauty that had resonated with us, it was most uplifting to hear that so many paths had been changed for the better despite the hardships. And little by little, as each one added his own touch, we all started to envision a year to come with increased hope.
After a fabulous meal at a most joyful table, that I am sure required many hours of preparation, one of the highlights of the evening was a tradition of New Year’s Eve at Heart’s Home. We each drew a quote that was to accompany and enlighten us throughout the coming year. There was great tension and laughter as each expected to be handed his most cherished saint. But in the end all were pleased to share their new-found wisdom with the group.
As we awaited midnight, we prayed and sang in the tastefully decorated chapel that had been set up in the basement to welcome all. After adoration and mass, Fr. Paul’s homely was concluded with the noise of firecrackers and cars honking outside. We then greeted one another with the absolute conviction that we were welcoming 2012 in the best setting there was: among true friends in Christ.