USA : « Cross the Street »

Publié le : 4 mars

A parish project reaching out to the homeless.

The homeless are getting more and more numerous in the Lewiston area. A group of concerned parishioners one day met with our pastor to see how the Prince of Peace Parish could reach out to them and share our resources. After the meeting, two types of groups of parishioners were formed : the “street” groups who have direct contact with the homeless by giving out care bags and entering into conversation with them ; and the “packers” who do the behind-the-scene task of shopping and preparing the packs of necessities to be distributed. “The primary goal is to care for the homeless and needy by engaging with them, acknowledging their presence, and sharing time and resources with them.” This new street ministry is called “Cross the Street” meaning that when the small groups of three or more go out, they will Cross the Street, not to avoid the homeless but to greet them and come to know them as persons and as our brothers and sisters in Christ.” (from Parish Bulletin)

On December 18, 2023, the first small street groups went into Kennedy Park and the surrounding streets to begin this ministry. “On that first day, 75 bags were distributed and the people they encountered were very appreciative and grateful especially with the human interaction and conversation that took place. Since then, our street groups have been going out on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Many more care bags have been given out but most importantly we have come to know them and they have come to know us. We have discovered that this is not just a one-way ministry for we are helping each other. As Mother Theresa said : ‘Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.’ “ (from Parish Bulletin)

During Lent, parishioners have been invited to help with collecting items to include in the bags being given out to the homeless. In the entrance of each church, there is a large wooden cross displaying tags that indicate what items are needed. Parishioners can pick up tags and bring to church the items they have purchased for distribution. Parishioners have been very generous in their response. Loaves and Fishes and the sisters jn Sabattus participate in this ministry through donation of articles, financial support and prayer.

Article : Sr Jacqueline Provencher
Photos : sr Therese Demers