Saturday, December 17, 2016

12 Days of Hope: A decade of hard work, an unforgettable moment with Pope Francis

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The day Trenton Shepherd met Pope Francis, he wore his best suit, a tie and shirt to match and his best shoes.  “I wanted to dress for the occasion,” Trenton said. “I prayed I’d have the chance to meet the Pope.” Trenton is a longtime consumer and employee of Catholic Charities’ Behavioral Health Services. Ten years ago, Trenton couldn’t live on his own or hold a job.

Today, he works for our Catholic Charities Enterprises, cleaning the kitchen and dining rooms after more than 1,800 meals are prepared. The work, his case manager Joseph Chaney says, has brought about a lot of positive changes in Trenton. He lives on his own now, does his own shopping and schedules his own doctor’s appointments. And, every Sunday, he heads to his Catholic parish to worship, always dressed in his best clothing. “He came back from meeting the Pope and gave me the biggest hug,” Chaney said. “That’s just who he is.” 

Chef Eric Curry has worked with Trenton for more than 10 years. “He’s Mr. Very, Very, Very Reliable,” said Curry. In addition to his great work ethic, Trenton is known for his friendliness, greeting coworkers and always saying goodbye before he heads home. For the staff who work with him, seeing Trenton with Pope Francis was a joy they shared with him.

Trenton, always humble, said, “It was pretty good. I’m glad he’s interested in coming into the community. He’s the people’s pope.” He pauses and nods to himself. “Yeah, it was pretty good.”