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April 2013
"That's What I'd Call Holy"- from the Director

 

"Oh, you are going to 'The Church.'"  That's how people respond to one Gubbio guest when he tells them he is going to rest at St. Boniface.  The guest explains to me how important it is that we are referred to as 'The Church.' "It means you have a name among my people." It is good to be known in the community; to have a name. That it isn't "St. Boniface" or "The Gubbio Project" but just "The Church" speaks volumes.  Those who live on the street know that they are welcome here, in this church.  I feel good about that.  At the same time I muse, Wouldn't it be wonderful if they had to ask "which one?"         

--

As we continued to talk, he stressed the significance of the work we are doing.  He shared that he thought the work was so important because we are bringing people together from all different groups.  In his own words: "You are bridging those divides.  And I think that is holy.  Saying Our Fathers and Hail Mary's isn't necessarily holy; what you are doing here - that is what I'd call holy."  And so would I.  

 Executive Director, Laura Slattery 

Mini-interviews with people inside 
St. Boniface Church during the week.

Q: How long have you been coming to this location?

-"I've never been here before" 
-"2 years"

-"3.5 years"

-"5 years"

-"2.5 decades, on and off"

-"Since my baptism in 1970"

-"50 years"

 

Q: Why do you come here?

-"For fulfillment"

-"Because I need to rest. It makes me healthy and people look after me."

-"I believe in God and what they do here. I love the parish and the friars."

-"Because the government ripped me off"

-"For peace and quiet"

-"To pray, to sleep, to clean the pews"

-"To do God's will"

-"Why not?" 

-"Somebody should come watch over other people's children"

 

Q: What do you do while you are here?

-"I work and interact with people"

-"I sleep until closing. Sometimes I request things. I pray here. I go to  mass."

-"I used to just pray but now I do a few other tasks."

-"Sleep"

-"Pray"

-"Come in and wait for lunch"

-"I listen"

-"I stand and watch and pray"  


Q:What is one interesting thing about you?

-"God gave me a good gift of singing"

-"I'm alive"

-"I'm 84 years old"

-"I love helping people"

-"I don't like cops"

-"I have a great sense of humor"

-"I like motorcycles"

-"I don't care to say"

 

As I was assembling these responses, I noticed that it isn't immediately apparent which answers came from which people. These mini-interviews included parishioners, guests, staff and volunteers; anyone who might be in the church during the week at any given time. To complicate this, some guests are parishioners, some volunteers are homeless or recently housed, and current staff may be former guests.

 

I have found that the boxes we so neatly draw in our minds, often unconsciously,  blur when set against the background of a messy reality. The beauty of this is that when the lines are hazy we can see past them, to someone's humanity; to their deeper nature as a fellow human being and an individual.  

  

Emma Fenton-Miller 

Spotlight  on
"Care Through Touch!" 

 

Massage services for guests have been reinstated at The Gubbio Project through Care Through Touch! We've historically hosted this service but due to a lack of funds, we haven't offered massage for over a year.  
 
A guest receives a massage in St Boniface 

To learn more about Care Through Touch visit their  website. 
In This Issue
From the Director
Mini-Interviews
Homeless Bill of Rights
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 Homeless advocates celebrate in Sacramento last Tues.

California Homeless Bill of Rights Makes Another Step Forward 
  
An amended version of the "Homeless Bill of Rights" was passed on Tuesday April 23rd by the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Rep. Tom Amiano (D-San Francisco) sponsored the the bill.

The proposed Homeless Bill of Rights would add housing status to a list of protected groups under state anti-discrimination law protecting them from discrimination from the government and organizations that receive public funding.The bill also lists 15 specific rights such as "to move freely, rest, solicit donations, pray, meditate, or practice religion, and to eat, share, accept, or give food and water in public spaces without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment or arrest."

The current version of the bill would make the sit-lie law in San Francisco illegal and would also require access to bathroom and shower facilities. Local governments which have a short housing wait lists, low unemployment, and that provide year-round assistance would be exempt from rules on public space (such as resting, eating etc.) 
Gubbio Wish List: 

- A projector screen - to be used for educational events with children visiting Gubbio for service/learning activities 
- Travel size lotion, shampoo, conditioner 
- Cough Drops
- Razors 
- Socks 
- Sleeping bags 
- Ponchos / rain jackets 
 
For more information contact: emmaf@thegubbioproject.org