Outreach to the homeless
Parishioners at Sacred Heart Church in London, England have an outreach ministry with the Ashford Place homeless shelter. Father Terry Murray, O.M.I. writes about this partnership:
Following the example of Pope Francis, who constantly encourages followers of Jesus to look for ways to reach out to those on the margins of society, the parishioners of Sacred Heart Church have taken upon themselves the task of helping at a local homeless shelter.
“We began by providing food one night a week, but this soon spread through an appeal in the church bulletin. Now we support Ashford Place three nights a week. There is a great atmosphere in the kitchen and in the dining room as we work together in cleaning plates, chopping vegetables, slicing chickens, frying sausages or hamburgers as we try to make a meal from the group of between 17 and 27 people. The parishioners donate the money each week to cover the costs of buying the food. ”
“Every Sunday evening the young people from our Sacred Heart Club and the Confirmation Group join in and help to prepare the food. It is fabulous to see the young people making such a fantastic contribution to the project. Some nights after the meal we have arts and craft classes, play Bingo, take part in guitar lessons or just sit around and sing together. Some of the nights the young people prepare homemade cakes to share at the end of the meal.”
“The residents come from many countries and speak many languages. What is really striking is how grateful the men and women are to the volunteers. They really appreciate that people they don’t know would go out of their way to feed them and befriend them.”
“There is a real sense of the faith community supporting this venture. This is a practical way of us reaching out to those on the margins of our community while helping to keep the flame of faith alive.”