After 25 years of serving the homeless in Detroit, Saints Peter & Paul Jesuit Church will honor the pope by renaming its Warming Center the Pope Francis Center. The Center's new name coincides with Pope Francis' December 8 kickoff of the Holy Year of Mercy, calling for the Church to "make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy" and inviting the world's youth to rediscover the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry. Pope Francis has encouraged people to practice one of these works each month as they prepare for World Youth Day in July.
“We are delighted by Pope Francis’ consistent message of love and mercy to the most vulnerable in our society,” said Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ, director of the Center. “Francis asks us to see Christ in the faces of the poor, and that is what we do here: we see Jesus at our door when someone comes to us in need.”
The Pope Francis Center began when the church opened its doors to the homeless during a brutal winter storm in 1990. That single act of kindness launched Saints Peter & Paul into a ministry that has served those in great need for more than two decades. Since that time, the Center has served more than 145,000 people, providing spiritual and physical care that has included 300,000 meals; 1,000,000 cups of coffee; 75,000 pairs of socks; and countless days and nights of shelter.
With generous support from the UAW-Ford Foundation in 2013, the Center underwent extensive renovations and is now equipped with showers, shaving stations, a full-service kitchen, and laundry facilities. It also houses numerous clinics, which offer medical, legal, and housing assistance, as well as mental health care. Since the renovation two years ago, the Center has provided 2,400 showers; 1,400 loads of laundry; and 800 visits to various clinics.
“Because we have become so much more than a warming center, we needed a name that adequately reflects all we do,” said Fr. McCabe. “The name 'Pope Francis Center’ is fitting, because the pope has captured the world’s imagination and inspires us with his special love and concern for the poor and afflicted.”
|A man rests on a bench at the Pope Francis Center of Saints Peter & Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit.|
The Pope Francis Center will celebrate its new name with various events in January. Media will be invited to attend these events and are also invited to tour the facilities by contacting:
Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ
Director, Pope Francis Center
438 St. Antoine Street
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-8077 x202
The Pope Francis Warming Center has been the mission of Saints Peter & Paul Jesuit Church since 1990. Since coming to Saints Peter & Paul in 1877, the Jesuits have made caring for those in need a significant part of the church's mission. The ministry to the homeless is a continuation of the Jesuits’ mission to care for those most in need in Detroit. In fact, when the church was given to the Jesuits as part of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s request to build a school, the church became the catalyst for all Jesuit ministries in Detroit.
Staff and lay leaders are people in mutual service to and with the Center’s neighbors, many of whom live on the street and whose realities include addiction, grief, shame, fear, impoverishment, and/or mental impairment. This mission is nurtured by Ignatian Spirituality, which is rooted in the spiritual experiences and writings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Jesuit order. This spirituality has been developed and adapted by Jesuits and lay people from its earliest beginnings. The core of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius forms one’s relationships with God, one’s neighbor, and oneself. The Pope Francis Center offers the space necessary for building up these relationships. To learn more, please click here.