Parishes hold sock hop, donate socks to homeless shelter

By | October 14, 2009


Chris Morris, a member of St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Green Bay, drops off a basket of socks to be blessed by Bishop David Ricken during a prayer service at St. Mary of the Angels Skating Rink Oct. 11. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Following two hours of skating around the rink, which is located inside St. Thomas More School, families joined special guest, Bishop David Ricken, for a prayer service and blessing of socks.

St. John’s Homeless Shelter opened its doors as a temporary shelter for the chronically homeless on Nov. 6, 2007. It was created to serve as an overnight haven for people who could not meet the requirements of the city’s other shelters, especially the mentally ill and those addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Last year the shelter served approximately 37 people each night. It is housed in the former gymnasium of the downtown Green Bay church and will open its doors to the homeless on Nov. 1.

Dan Robinson, president of the homeless shelter’s board of trustees, attended the prayer service and gave an update on the shelter. He also invited those present to an open house at the shelter on Oct. 28, 4-6 p.m.

A reflection on feet — describing how homeless people spend so much time walking and their dire need for socks and shoes — was presented by Deacon Paul Umentum of St. Mary of the Angels Parish.

Before blessing the socks, Bishop Ricken told those present about the important ministry provided by St. John’s Homeless Shelter. He said that, through the shelter, the church is reaching out to those in need, just as Jesus instructed.

The bishop told the crowd, consisting mostly of parents and children, that when he was a parish priest, a homeless man came to the rectory door seeking assistance. He said that the man’s feet were cold and had sores. The parish was able to provide for the man’s needs, and that is what the group was doing by donating socks, he said.

Three children brought up baskets containing the donated socks and undergarments. Following an opening prayer and a Gospel reading, Bishop Ricken blessed 219 pairs of donated socks.

“Send your blessings on these socks and the people who brought them,” Bishop Ricken said, using holy water to bless the items.

The event was partially funded by a “Faith in Our Future” grant awarded by the diocesan Department of Education and made possible by Advancing the Mission.


• A concert featuring Catholic musician and composer John Angotti, Oct. 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at St. Matthew Church in Allouez.

• An “Evening with Fr. Jim Neilson,” Oct. 26, 7-9 p.m., at Resurrection Church in Allouez.

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