The Holy Spirit in moments of grace and grief:  Sanford and Midland-area parishioners respond to flooding with faith, hope and charity.

Annette Clark recreated the cleanup photo once the basement had been gutted and dried. Courtesy photo (right). Photo by Jeff Schrier (left).

A self-professed “doer,” Blessed Sacrament parishioner Annette Clark began left work Tuesday, May 19, and immediately went to downtown Midland to see how she could help her community.

Annette began by helping evacuate residents from Riverside Place, a senior housing facility. She then went to Midland High School to help set up cots in the city’s emergency shelter and help evacuees.

acob Pasek, Annette Clark and Joshua Pasek pose for a photo with the drums they had as children while cleaning out the Pasek family’s flooded basement. Courtesy photo.

Taking vacation days from work, she returned to the shelter Wednesday and spent 10 hours coordinating the collection, sorting and distribution of donated household goods.

“It was amazing how the donations continued to come in all day,” she said.

By Thursday, most guests at the emergency shelter had left, so Annette visited a hardware store and purchased $500 worth of cleaning supplies with funds gathered by her coworkers at Robert F. Murray & Company, CPAs, and headed to a neighborhood east of Sturgeon Avenue in Midland. She joined volunteers Blessed Sacrament Youth Group and the adult outreach ministry.

She began at her friends Dave and Angela Pasek’s house, where the couple hosted the youth group for years in their basement. A group of volunteers from Blessed Sacrament, including the youth outreach team, hauled sodden trash, ripped out carpet, demolished drywall, power washed and bleached their basements. By the end of the day, it was empty and drying with fans and dehumidifiers.

“It was great to work with the kids. The kids didn’t get to go [on their usual mission trip] this year because of COVID, so they nicknamed it Mission Midland 2020,” she said. “I truly think this helped them realize they can help at home.”

Once the Pasek’s house was done, the group moved throughout the neighborhood, helping wherever they were needed.

For Annette, her many volunteer efforts are intimately connected with her faith. A recent homily from Father Rob Howe at Blessed Sacrament, she said, particularly resonated with her. In his homily, Father Rob noted how the pandemic caused the temporary suspension of public Masses and gatherings, but “the Church isn’t really a building; it’s us.” He spoke of how individuals can go out and be the Church.

“That’s what we’re doing: we’re being the Church for people,” she said. “For me, that is professing my faith and hoping that maybe someone will pick up on that.”