“What it’s like going to church when you’re homeless”: My piece for America

“What it’s like going to church when you’re homeless”: My piece for America November 16, 2017

interview-based, v. small number of people but they said some things you’ll want to read:

Several years ago I was attending Mass at a downtown church. That day, if memory serves, the last weekday Mass was not crowded, so it stood out when a middle-aged man went up to receive Communion, then hurried out through the front doors of the church.

When I left Mass myself I found him at the foot of the church steps, asking the better-off churchgoers for change. We all had received Communion together, but he had to hurry away so as not to lose the chance to get help from anyone else leaving Mass early.


In a bit that got cut, I noted that the story about Reggie looking out for women coming out of the clubs reminded me of something that happened to me back when I was still drinking. A homeless woman I know, named Robin, would see me wandering around all catastrophic and would follow me home to make sure I got there okay. One night Robin saw another woman following after me, and because she recognized the woman, she was pretty sure I might be about to get robbed. Robin made her presence known so that the other lady would clear off. I only found out about all this much later–I think she only told me about it after I’d already quit drinking, when we were talking about that. Robin played a few different roles in my getting sober; she talked to me about her concerns about me, for example. Anyway so yeah, thank you, Robin Henry. I get why America cut that bit because it’s more about my personal business than about churchgoing, but it was a great service to me.

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