The group began out of a desire of one Catholic, Lena Nuccio-Lee, to travel to Medjugorje to get closer to the Lord. But now FLOCK – Family for the Love of Christ the King – includes feeding Jesus’ flock as part of its mission.
On Nov. 26, young and old met at 7 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier parish kitchen in Metairie to chop vegetables for soup and fill brown bags with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other edibles for the homeless at St. Jude Community Center, an outreach of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church across the street.
After spending three hours preparing and cooking the soup, FLOCK transported three hot crawfish pots of soup to St. Jude Community Center to serve the waiting men and women. It’s something the group plans to do four times a year.
Oblate Father Tony Rigoli delivered a blessing before the crowds dug into their hot lunch.
Several men voiced appreciation for receiving a hot meal after Thanksgiving.
Nuccio-Lee, director of Family Life Ministries at St. Francis, said the group was formed in the spring, with approval from Msgr. Andrew Taormina, pastor at St. Francis.
Nuccio-Lee said the idea for FLOCK materialized after she was praying in the adoration chapel at St. Francis Xavier, trying to find a way to travel to Medjugorje.
“(God) put on my heart FLOCK,” she said. “He said that we would flock together to Medjugorje. The catch – or blessings – was that we would not only ‘flock’ on pilgrimages together, we would also feed his flock.”
When looking for a place to serve those in need, Nuccio-Lee discovered Our Lady of Guadalupe’s St. Jude Community Center where hot breakfast and lunch are served every day but Sundays to the homeless.
Nuccio-Lee said it was fate because before she was a parishioner at St. Francis, Our Lady of Guadalupe was her family’s Catholic parish. She also was married and her two children were baptized there.
“God brought us back for a wonderful reason,” she said. “We know we are going to love working with Father Tony.”
Approximately 30 adults and children turned out Nov. 26. Msgr. Taormina also stopped in to see the work of his parishioners.
Several who participated said the event gave children a chance not only to serve others but also understand, first-hand, how fortunate they are.
“It was an opportunity for the whole family to get involved and help,” said Hope Brannon who brought her daughter, Megan, a sixth grader at St. Francis Xavier School, and her friend Molly McCaffery.
Children at the event handed out a to-go bag with a sandwich, holy card, water and fruit as those who were fed left the building.
Nuccio-Lee said FLOCK has no set meetings or official membership. Any person or family is welcomed to participate in the FLOCK kitchens or travel to Medjugorje. Fund-raisers such as bake sales, selling FLOCK T-shirts and parish food and money collections support FLOCK’s ministry.
On Nov. 26, FLOCK was joined by Archbishop Chapelle High School students and faculty, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Divine Mercy parish in Kenner and others, several of whom often volunteer at St. Jude.
FLOCK’s first trip to Medjugorje is planned in late May 2012. For details, contact Nuccio-Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or St. Francis Xavier at 834-0340.
Nuccio-Lee’s sister, Deborah Nuccio, also a FLOCK supporter, said the FLOCK kitchen will not stop after the trip.
“This is going to be an ongoing thing,” Nuccio said.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at email@example.com.