Shelter from the Storm

The Gubbio Project

St. Boniface Catholic Church in the Tenderloin of San Francisco.

I just walked over to St. Boniface for noon Mass and I wasn’t even a block away from my apartment before I was drenched. An umbrella is useless due to the wind and the rain coming at you sideways.

I got to the parish, and as expected, the place was packed. This is the coolest parish I know…. they open their doors and allow people to rest on their pews during the day. The Gubbio Project facilitates it and they do an amazing job. Folks are allowed to lay down on the back 2/3 pews and the pews up front need to be available because they hold Mass a couple times a day. If you sit in the front rows, you need to be sitting up. There were a lot of folks sitting up front today. 

A lot of people sleep on this block at night…. because this is one block where the police aren’t called to tell people to “move along”… and when they do come out to do that they get pushback from the parish and St. Anthony’s Dining room. I found out a man who was sleeping across the street last night in a nook was found dead this morning. This is the reality taking place on our streets… in a city with such wealth.

This morning I also got word of a 33 year old woman living in an encampment in the Mission who was murdered over the weekend. While on outreach over there the women have been telling us they don’t feel safe… even more than the usual. This is the second woman I know of to be murdered over there lately.

I can’t stress enough the need for faith communities to be opening their doors for people seeking refuge. If people are turned away, the consequences can be dire. I urge you to go to your faith leaders and tell them they need to open their doors for people who have no shelter. We can’t sit back an assume the City is taking care of people… that’s just not the reality. This is a perfect situation to bust out a little Catholic guilt on your faith leaders… even if you aren’t Catholic. Make them uncomfortable… don’t accept no for an answer. The reason they may say no is out of fear… challenge them.

Btw… tonight is the Annual Interfaith Memorial for those who have died on our streets this past year.

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