“These lay faithful aren’t intimidated by the vast poverty that they see.”
Every Saturday, seminarians have the chance to participate in ministry to the homeless in the Lower Wacker Drive area of Chicago. Here are two accounts of what our seminarians have experienced.
I had a wonderful experience helping distribute coats, socks, and water to the homeless in the Lower Wacker Drive area of Chicago Saturday morning. There were several things about it that I loved. First, it was a tangible experience of the corporal works of mercy. There was an intimacy about it, because we handed out the coats, socks, and water to the individuals who needed them at their ‘homes’ in Lower Wacker Drive. We saw where and how they were living. We got a sense of how desperately they needed this support. And, we got to share some brief fellowship as we were making the rounds. Second, I love that it was organically organized by the lay faithful. There were four other individuals from a parish south of Chicago that do this every Saturday morning. The homeless community knows that they will be coming and trusts them. They have formed relationships and will take specific orders for clothes to bring back the next week. These lay faithful aren’t intimidated by the vast poverty that they see. Instead, they rise up and live out the gospel. They didn’t seek any permission to do this. They just do it. Faithfully. Finally, we all ended the morning at Mass and spent some time in fellowship afterwards. Jesus Christ was at the center of the whole endeavor. Service led to worship. Worship leads to service. Saturday Morning at Lower Wacker Drive is a place to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ alive and incarnate.
Getting up at 4:30am on a Saturday morning was really hard! But once we started zooming around the streets of Lower Wacker Drive, handing out coffee, sandwiches, coats, and socks and talking to those who live on the streets of Chicago, it became very easy. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice your sleep! It’s worth it!