The clock is ticking . . .

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A St. Joseph the Worker client shares with hikers how the agency helped him overcome homelessness and unemployment before the 2009 benefit hike (left). Poor Clare Sisters John-Mark Maria and Sr. Mary Fidelis hand out awards after last year's Nun Run benefiting their chapel in Tonopah (right). Registration for this year's hike and run ends soon. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

A St. Joseph the Worker client shares with hikers how the agency helped him overcome homelessness and unemployment before the 2009 benefit hike (left). Poor Clare Sisters John-Mark Maria and Sr. Mary Fidelis hand out awards after last year’s Nun Run benefiting their chapel in Tonopah (right). Registration for this year’s hike and run ends soon. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

It all comes down to Feb. 28. That’s the cutoff date.

While the world is focused on Feb. 28 being the final day of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, it’s also the last chance Catholics have to show “charity that makes the Church to live in love,” as the pope said in his final general audience Feb. 27, and have it count.

Tomorrow is the final deadline to register online for this weekend’s Hike for the Homeless.

Supporters can be avid hikers, casual hikers or virtual hikers. If they choose to hike, there are five trail options at two regional parks in the Valley that will be marked for the journey. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for students and includes a T-Shirt and breakfast burrito.

All proceeds benefit St. Joseph the Worker, a diocesan-supported organization that helps people, particularly those facing homelessness, return to the workforce and become self-sufficient. More than 575 clients secured job placements last year with 63 percent offering benefits.

St. Joseph the Worker’s 15th annual hike will be held at both Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear and McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills. St. Patrick Parish in Scottsdale currently holds the Traveling Trophy for bringing the largest team last year.

It’s top in the running for the trophy this year too with 129 registered hikers who raised nearly $7,290. Xavier College Preparatory ranks in the top five with 82 members and $2,165.

Other Catholic teams, many of which are accepting members from the public, include:

  • André House of Arizona
  • St. Thomas More Parish in Glendale
  • Notre Dame Club of Phoenix
  • St. Theresa Catholic School
  • Ss. Simon and Jude eighth-graders
  • St. Paul Parish
  • St. Theresa Trekkers

Nun Run
Catholics around the diocese and across the globe are also supporting another benefit trek: the fourth annual Nun Run, or as it’s being billed this year, the “Run 4 the Nuns.” Registration went up Feb. 24 to $30 for adults and $20 for those 18 and under and will remain at that rate until the eve of the race. Supporters also have the option of being a “Shadow runner” and using your own course or no course at all.

Funds support the ongoing quest to build a true cloistered monastery for the Poor Clare Sisters of Perpetual Adoration living in temporary retreat houses in Tonopah. The five sisters will be running and walking along with their supporters on race day March 9 at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. There are three courses.

The sisters are offering a chance to run on your own or as part of:

  • a Chaplain’s Challenge — between priests and young adults at a high school or college such as the Holy Trinity Newman Center in Flagstaff and the All Saints Catholic Newman Center in Tempe
  • a School Challenge — among elementary, high schools and colleges
  • Parish Pride — as a parish team. St. Mary Magdalene in Gilbert formed a team.
  • a Run with the Saints — Each sister is running to sponsor a stained glass window in Our Lady of Solitude Chapel depicting a particular saint. Support them or one of two saints awaiting adoption.
    Sr. Mary Fidelis told me that she is striving to get the Blessed Junipero Serra window complete. As vocation directress, it was a natural fit, she wrote. Plus, he is a “determined Apostle of Christ” who said “Always forward, never back.”
    Sr. Marie André adopted the St. Kateri Tekakwitha window
    Sr. Marie St. Paul adopted the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati window. Fr. Mark Mary and Doug Barry jumped on board.
    Sr. John-Mark Maria adopted the St. Maximilian Kolbe window
    Sr. Tara adopted the Blessed Charles de Foucauld window
    Awaiting adoption: St. Gianna Molla and St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)
Ambria Hammel is the staff writer for The Catholic Sun. She began reporting for the award-winning newspaper in 2006.

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