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Published – “Examples of service made Christmas season brighter” – a Golden Rule Moment

The holiday season is over, but the joys of this festive time of the year still remind us of the laughter, aromas and bustle that comes with it and Golden Rule Moments waiting to happen!

This year, our family decided to go to St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix and help prepare for a Christmas party for over 1,200 young people. We decorated cookies, made Christmas cards, made decorations and overall had a wonderful experience. Our family is still taking about it as being the best Christmas we’ve had.

It was packed with Golden Rule Moments. First, there were more than 100 wonderful people who volunteered for this event at St. Vincent de Paul. It made it possible for children to have a Christmas celebration. What a wonderful act of kindness.

Secondly, St. Vincent de Paul resounded with a spirit of joy and profound caring that was real and tangible. We felt it deep inside.

This day, like every day, the number of people they feed and clothe is a tribute to the wonderful service they provide for the homeless and less fortunate residents of our Valley. St. Vincent’s motto, “To feed, house, heal and clothe,” happens every day of the year at this oasis of love and mercy. Without them, many people would go unnoticed and unserved.

There’s more! There were two young ladies that I met at this event. They seemed like ordinary young women in their 20s. Yet they were on fire with serving.

We spoke about our Christmas traditions; what we eat and how we celebrate it. At one point, I talked about how we always have tamales for Christmas Eve. One of the girls asked how we made them and I said we don’t, we buy them at the store.

Before the volunteer event was over, I inquired a little more about why the girls were there and how they got into serving. Liz said that she began doing volunteer service when she was a dental assistant and she went with her office to assist the homeless with dental care. She said she felt so wonderful serving that she enlisted her friend Nicole and together they have been doing volunteer work for a couple of years.

This conversation gave me such hope! Here were two young women who understood that the purpose of life was more than just about themselves. They had discovered the genuine joy of giving to others.

That was such a deeply moving Golden Rule Moment for me. So, I took a picture with them, wished them happy holidays and we exchanged contact information.

You can imagine my surprise when Liz texted me on Christmas Eve and said she had some tamales for me that her mother had made. When I met Liz, she and Nicole shared that they had just spent the entire morning helping to serve the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul.

It contrasted with my own morning — I basked in such appreciation for their example.

To say this Christmas Eve was the best ever was an understatement.

Homemade tamales brought with love and selfless labor; to first make them and then to deliver them, made it a special blessing for our family. We thanked Liz and Nicole many times that day.

This wouldn’t be complete without a special shout-out of deep gratitude to Steve Zabilski and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, who were 2011 Golden Rule Award Honorees at Arizona Interfaith Movement’s Award Dinner.

He and his staff provide an avenue and a model in our community where all can be blessed. We saw it happen!

Details: www.stvincentdepaul.net/. See the St. Vincent de Paul Golden Rule story at www.azifm.org (Golden Rule, Honorees).

The Rev. Larry Fultz is executive director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement.  

copyright Arizona Republic 2018