House of Mercy, 285 Ormond St., Rochester, will answer Pope Francis’ call to commemorate the first World Day of the Poor on Nov. 19.
Planned events will recognize the plight of the poor in Rochester, which has the highest rates of child poverty, extreme poverty and women living in poverty in the country among similar-sized cities. In launching World Day of the Poor, the pope appealed to Catholics and Christians worldwide to serve the poor with concrete actions that address their daily needs.
House of Mercy, an anti-poverty mission and homeless shelter, will hold a series of events in partnership with St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, a Rochester Catholic Worker community.
Area residents are encouraged to donate winter coats, hats, gloves and boots from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 18. A community meal at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 aims to change people’s perceptions about the poor and the homeless.
Other planned events include tours of House of Mercy’s new building, a candle vigil and prayer night and a gospel choir and talent night.
House of Mercy founder Sister Grace Miller, whose efforts in Rochester were called heroic during the global Vatican Radio broadcast of Mother Teresa’s canonization in September 2016, will discuss important volunteer roles people have played at House of Mercy since its founding in 1985. Special recognition will be given to a longtime volunteer who has cooked more than 50,000 meals over a 20-year period.
“When Pope Francis announced the World Day of the Poor, he called on us to ‘create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance’ for those most in need,” Miller said. “The House of Mercy is responding through a series of events that were organized with the help of the people we serve. If community members are unable to participate in one of these events, we encourage them to observe the day by simply doing something kind for someone they know.
“The House of Mercy has served people in need for more than 30 years. We are delighted that Pope Francis has established a world day dedicated exclusively to the poor. As the pope stated in establishing this day, ‘the poor are not a problem, they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practice in our lives the essence of the Gospel.’ This is especially critical in Rochester, where thousands of people struggle with extreme poverty and homelessness.”
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