The life-sized bronze statue by Ontario artist Timothy Schmalz, which can be found in more than 60 cities across the globe including the Vatican, will be installed on the grounds of St. Vincent. In other cities, the statue has been placed in an area where it serves as a reminder to securely housed people that Jesus was himself homeless and that He called for Christians to care for “these least brothers of mine” (Mt. 25:40). In addition to that message, this one will serve as a reminder to those who are experiencing homelessness that they are like Christ.
The statue was given to the Archdiocese of Baltimore by an anonymous donor, and Archbishop William Lori recommended on the occasion of the retirement of St. Vincent’s former pastor, the Rev. Richard Lawrence, that the statue be placed at St. Vincent in recognition of his and the parish’s service to the poor. The dedication of the statue is Sunday, July 15. Bishop Denis Madden will preside at a 10 AM Mass in the church along with St. Vincent’s pastor Fr. Ray Chase and Fr. Lawrence. Following the liturgy, the community will join Bishop Madden in blessing and dedicating the statue.
St. Vincent Park at the corner of Fayette and President Streets is a privately owned park that the church keeps open 22 hours a day. All are welcome to enjoy the green space and sleep on its benches, when necessary. It only closes from 7AM-9AM for cleaning each day.
Homeless Jesus will be in the middle of the park among the other park benches, where so many individuals have slept, though it is surrounded by a patio and landscaping to add an element of reverence. The installation and landscaping are being done by graduates and residents of the nearby Helping Up Mission, an organization that provides faith-based recovery services for men fighting addiction, poverty, and homelessness.
St. Vincent de Paul Church (120 N. Front St.), founded in 1841, is the oldest Catholic parish church in the Archdiocese. Spiritual home to various immigrant populations throughout the years, today St. Vincent draws its parishioners from across the metropolitan area. It undertakes many service ministries, including a weekly dinner, monthly clothing distribution, a weekly food pantry and a ministry that furnishing to newly housed people.