Robert Kinghorn

Robert Kinghorn

Robert Kinghorn is a deacon of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

You can read his column, "The Church on the Street" in The Catholic Register.

You can contact him at robert.kinghorn@ekinghorn.com

When I started out on the Church on the Street, I gave little thought to some of the logistics of such a ministry apart from determining that it would be 8 p.m. onwards every Thursday evening.

Some nights it does not take long for the temperature to plummet. I don’t mean the thermometer, but the temperature of the street. 

Recently I found myself in the basement of a downtown church surrounded by a confirmation class of children, teachers and parents. The church sits in an area where the outreach of the Church on the Street is most challenging, and the class had responded to the call of Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel: “We cannot passively and calmly wait in our church buildings; we need to move from a passive ministry of mere conservation to a decidedly missionary pastoral mission.” 

Unless you have been homeless, as Mary and Joseph were on that first Christmas, it is difficult to understand the deep peace a roof over your head can bring.
The universality of the Catholic Church is never more evident than in the sacraments and the love for the poor. These foundation stones inform its spiritual life and stand as an eternal witness to the love of Christ. 
There are few, if any, parishes in Toronto that had three shooting deaths in the first month of the year and followed them up with two more in the next few months. Add to this an epidemic of drug overdoses and a picture of lawlessness could emerge.

In the wake of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, I have been reflecting on how the Canadian Catholic Church is perceived on the streets.

The request was simple: “I’m going south for a week, could you give me a ride to the airport and pick me up on my way back?”

I call them the confessions of Sr. Immolatia. They are the words of a vibrant, spirit-led past parishioner of the Church on the Street.

We are often rudely awakened to our insufficient response to the voice of need.

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