As the needs of many continue to grow in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the new Mother Mary Lange Food Pantry at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Takoma Park, Maryland is providing much-needed food assistance to people in its community.

In a special Mass and ceremony on Nov. 18, 2020, Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville blessed the center, giving thanks for the outreach of  Our Lady of Sorrows Parish and asking God’s blessing on all who serve and are served at the pantry there.

“We ask the Lord that once we bless this food pantry, it will never be closed, because charity and needs are always present in our lives,” Bishop Dorsonville said in his homily at the Mass.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the food pantry has sought to serve those in need by partnering with parish volunteers as well as other parishes including St. Camillus in Silver Spring to provide food to those in need.

“It is important to reflect upon the power of Jesus Christ walking with us through the pandemic to the most needed people, making us an instrument of His love and solidarity,” Bishop Dorsonville said.

The bishop spoke about the faith of Our Lady of Sorrows, the namesake of the parish on whose grounds the food pantry was established, as she contemplated the pain of her son on the cross.

“We can find a way to see that that cross is lived now by many families… (who have) lost their beloved ones, are struggling to find job, to meet their needs,” he said. “Your pastor has been very attentive and receptive about the sense of the times. How important for all the parishes of the archdiocese… to find a way to help those who are hungry.”

Father Shaun Foggo, the pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows, said research shows the “numbers of the poor and needy are going to go up over the next few months and probably the next year,” he said.

“Since the beginning of the shutdown with the incorporation of the incredible support from our neighboring parish of St. Camillus, the community was able to serve and feed Jesus in the poor,” Father Foggo said.

The name of the food pantry, Mother Mary Lange, he added, seems to have been “God’s will.”

“Without realizing it, Mother Mary Lange has also been interceding for us,” Father Foggo said. “It seems like it is God’s will that the building be named Mother Mary Lange.”

Mother Mary Lange is the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first congregation of African American women religious, who educated young African American girls in Baltimore in the early 19th century. Her order also cared for those who were ill during the cholera epidemic in 1832. Her cause for canonization has been opened. Father Foggo called Mother Mary Lange a “true servant of God.”

While blessing the food pantry, Bishop Dorsonville recalled the parable from the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

“We must strengthen our Christian commitment to do our best for our neighbor, for those in need, especially those who are suffering,” Bishop Dorsonville said.

He called the Mother Mary Lange Food Pantry a “wonderful little small house that is going to produce a huge miracle of love in the lives of those whom you (the parish community and volunteers) serve and love.”