Young People Call for More Gubbio!
Students from St. Ignatius College Prep recently went above and beyond to write us the beautiful letter below.
It is not only a well-worded affirmation of our mission but an articulate call for more compassion and justice in San Francisco:
"Dear The Gubbio Project,
As students of St. Ignatius and frequenters of San Francisco, we would like to affirm our support and admiration for the work you do with St. Boniface Church for the less fortunate residents of this city. It is important for the homeless to have a safe space where they can rest during the day from the chaos of the city. Furthermore, including them in the community with other mass-goers leads to a greater sense of understanding and compassion, and strengthens societal bonds.
All churches in San Francisco should follow your example and be sanctuaries and centers of community for everyone, housed or not. The next step is to connect other church communities in San Francisco to your work. We appeal to you, as an inspiring and influential example, to reach out a hand to other church communities in San Francisco and urge them to adopt your program. The Gubbio Project should stretch to all corners of our city, and be readily available to all homeless residents and those in need. We too work for the values of community, solidarity and compassion that your program emphasizes, and offer assistance in the effort to reach out and expand your work.
We hope the near future sees and increased understanding between the housed and the homeless that will lead to great efforts to help the dispossessed off the streets.
Thank you for the work you do in our community."
Spotlight on Roberta Naiveli
Roberta Naiveli volunteers each Friday for The Gubbio Project as an assistant hospitality monitor.
Her introduction to Gubbio was fortuitous: In March she was passing through the Tenderloin when she heard from a passerby that there was a new "Pope Francis." On a whim, she thought to enter St. Boniface to say a prayer.
In her words "I was blown away by what I saw." While she had not thought of using a church to house the homeless before, she immediately wanted to get involved.
Roberta shared that she finds Pope Francis's message inspiring especially his words about making "a church for the poor." How synchronous that our project is also inspired by St. Francis and that we also hope to make a church for the poor!
Roberta is a parishioner of St. Dominic's Church and is originally from Fiji. When asked about herself, she says her Catholic faith and giving back to her community are very important to her. She also loves this city and the 49ers!
- Reflection by a Staff Member
Over the long weekend I saw a news article about a homeless man who died on the sidewalk around noon on May 10th at the corner of Market and 3rd. The article made clear that while crowds passed by this man who obviously needed medical attention, no one stopped to help him or called 911. Instead, at least one person used their phone to take a video of him as he bled to death. Help was finally called, too late, by a sanitation worker whose job it was to keep that piece of sidewalk clean.
I think most who hear this story are disturbed by our collective "back-turning" on those living in extreme poverty. It probably stuck in the minds of a few, brought them down a little and reminded them that the world is kind of messed up, adding to their cynicism but perhaps not to our collective action.
My first reaction was to wonder if the man who died was someone I knew, since when I left work on Friday a friend told me of how he was very sick and had been vomiting blood, which brought the situation close to home. This is the case for many, such as those who have family members living on the street, those who work with or are friends with someone who is homeless. For many who know someone who is homeless the cardboard thin abstract that is "homeless person" no longer distances in the same sort of way.
Instead of a depressing parable of the disconnection in our society or just a sensationally sad story, it is actually what happened to a real person. While I think it is important and needed to keep looking at the big picture in such an instance, it occurred to me that I should first simply and deeply feel for this person because in a profound way that's what was lacking.