NEW ULM - "Blessed . . . are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them: They are hands that bring hope," said Pope Francis in his message marking the first World Day of the Poor on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. Hoping to raise the visibility of the most vulnerable, the Holy Father challenges each of us to engage in the work of ending poverty, homelessness, and hunger. In response, parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm were to consider collecting items for their local food shelf and continue to so throughout the Advent season. Students in the Holy Cross Area Faith Community faith formation program, (Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New Ulm; St. Mary, New Ulm; St. John the Baptist, Searles; St. George, West Newton Township; and St. Gregory the Great, Lafayette) stepped up to the task. Standing next to collected food shelf items are students of one of the St. Mary's third grade faith formation classes. Pictured left to right, Crosby Batt, Rowan Schlagel, Joey Wise, Shelby Serbus, Christian Arndt, Skylar Lyimo, and Elaina Brown.