LEWISTON---“I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out hands and plead for our help and solidarity.”
In announcing the first World Day of the Poor (November 19), the words of Pope Francis have resonated around the world as dioceses and parishes plan events highlighting our call to offer the justice and charity of Christ to those in need.
“If there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favorable moment to encounter the God we seek,” added the Holy Father.
In that spirit, Bishop Robert P. Deeley will bless the new Saint Catherine of Siena Residence, located in the former Saint Andre Group Home on 188 Sabattus Street in Lewiston, on Friday, November 17, at noon.
The Saint Catherine of Siena Residence offers both shelter and hope for homeless women. It is operated by Brother Irénée Richard, O.P., a Dominican brother and deacon of the Catholic Church, who also founded and serves as the executive director of Saint Martin de Porres Residence, a residence for homeless men in Lewiston.
Guests at Saint Catherine of Siena will receive an evening meal, a place to stay overnight, a hot shower, and breakfast. During the day, they must work to better their situation.
“Our ministry is very simple. We welcome our guests with open arms,” said Brother Irénée. “No matter what they have done or what their issues are, we accept them where they are at, without judging them or labeling them. They are our brothers and sisters going through rough times, and we are here to say that you are okay, and things will get better if you sincerely work at it. For many of them, we become their second family.”
“As Pope Francis has said, we are called to ‘draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them, and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude,’” said Bishop Deeley. “Saint Catherine of Siena Residence now joins Saint Martin de Porres Residence in acknowledging the value of the human person by responding to the cry of the poor with a commitment to ending their marginalization.”
A special World Day of the Poor resource section has also been created on the diocesan website. The section includes messages from Bishop Deeley and Pope Francis regarding the World Day of the Poor, prayer and liturgy resources, ways to put faith into action, and prayers.