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Paul Wellman

Foot-Washers Need Shoes for the Poor

Following in the Footsteps of Mary Magdalene


Saturday, March 23, 2013
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As WillBridge House prepares to organize its sixth annual interfaith foot-washing, its organizers are beating the bushes for new shoe donations to give to the homeless at the event, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, at the Veterans Memorial Building. WillBridge is a faith-based provider of housing and counseling to those in need and distress, and as part of its mission to the poor, hosts the annual foot-washing — in the spirit of Mary Magdalene — for the homeless. The event, spiritual in origin, addresses pressing practical considerations as well. The shoes of many homeless individuals are beaten and tattered, offering little protection against the elements or bacterial invaders. What the foot-washing starts, the donation of new shoes is designed to complete. WillBridge organizer Gloria Regan said new boots and hiking shoes in particular are needed, and she is reaching out to the generosity of the community at large. An expression of Easter spirit, the event also connects hundreds of homeless people with the wide array of organizations and service providers also in attendance. For more information, and to donate new shoes, please contact Gloria Regan at 564-1911.

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This comment isn't as relevant on Easter as it would have been prior to Thursday, March 28, the night Christians celebrated the Last Supper this year, but the authentic context of washing the feet of homeless people on this day is important enough to add a belated comment. The statements attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the gospel of John, chapter 13, recounts Jesus washing the feet of his followers prior to eating the Passover meal.
13:14-17 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet." 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." 16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him." 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."
The story of Mary Magdalen and her sister Martha is an important allegory on priorities and values, but exchanging the references of these two stories requires neglect of the symbolism that's of primary importance in Willbridge's Holy Thursday recognition of the needs of Santa Barbara's homeless.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
March 31, 2013 at 3:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rather interesting in light of the new pope's break from tradition on this matter.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2013 at 3:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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