Scripture and preaching led me to ministry and priesthood. I remember a young priest who preached in the aisles of my home parish when I was in high school.  I heard the stories of Jesus in a new way. I was compelled to explore ministry because of what I heard in that small parish in Michigan.

I have been preaching myself now for thirty years. Preaching has led me to various church aisles throughout the country. The Word has formed me in ways I cannot articulate. Preaching now among people living in poverty continues to change my heart and how I approach and pray the Word of God. I have been deeply humbled by people’s stories of surviving addictions or living through years of mental illness. All the issues of urban poverty teach me an even greater dependence on God’s love and mercy.



The Yellow Pages
September 2008, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

Sock Exchange
November 2009, Celebrate! Magazine


I stand at our parish altar feeling overwhelmed on most days. I have to catch my breath when I see the faces of people who really need God. People in poverty reveal to me that grace is not bound by a communion rail or church door. People in dire need open my heart to trust Christ’s real presence among people’s real suffering. People gather for Mass because of the violence in their lives. We all encounter at the altar table a profound need for something greater than ourselves.

I realize with all my heart that sacraments compel us back to the streets from the altar to work for justice. We feed people who line up in our hospitality center because we have waited in line to be fed in the communion line in our chapel. Volunteers wash feet because our feet have been held by God and washed in the liturgy. We take to the streets the grace we receive in the Eucharist. Sacraments are not bound by our infidelity, our hopelessness or our inability to receive the love God has for us. Sacraments teach us how to love in the world. I now crave the Eucharist in ways that continue to change and form both my heart and my ministry.



Line Dancing – December 2009, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

A Beautiful Supper – April 2009, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

Someone Else’s Clothing – April 2010, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine


I realize every day that so many people are never emotionally free from the slavery of generational poverty, multiple addictions and long term mental illness. The longer I am in the midst of people’s stories, the more I depend on God to heal the souls of people who cannot find their way out of darkness, loss and grief. God’s love compels us into the messiness of service, rolling up our sleeves to find healing to situations that may never be solved.

The work of justice begins with building relationships with people. These relationships will determine how things need to change for society and the Church. Our community realizes on a daily basis that we cannot fix people’s lives. We cannot solve the mystery of long-term poverty or all the ways people are marginalized by addictions and mental illness. I now realize that only God’s fidelity can heal people. Our actions toward serving people is a mutual realization that healing comes from being in relationship with people who suffer the tragedies of being shunned, put down and disregarded in life. We all experience a personal poverty, the ways in which we all need God and one another in order to survive.


Foot Crossing – March 2011, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

Sidewalk Soup – August 2009, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

Personal Poverty Retreat – February 2008, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

Saint André Bessette

The patron of our parish community is Saint André Bessette, who was the first member of the Congregation of Holy Cross to be canonized in the Catholic Church. He is also the first male saint from Canada. The canonization took place in Rome on Sunday, October 17, 2010. Saint André Bessette Catholic Church continues his ministry in Old Town, Portland, Oregon.

I have written many articles connecting the life, faith and service of Saint André to our parish ministry of hospitality, healing and hope. I invite you to share in prayer and reflection as you read about the inspiringly simple life of a man who welcomed people and prayed for them.

Saint André has inspired my life and approach to the healing power of God. In our ministry among the marginalized, I realize more deeply that only God can heal, reconcile and comfort. Join in us prayer and in a profound reliance on the grace of God for people surviving urban poverty.

In the following articles, I explore the connection between Saint André’s legacy and the mission of our parish through ten common themes:
Home | Hospitality | Honor | Holy Oil | Healing
Humility | Hunger | Holiness | Heart | Hope

In 2012, I wrote a six-part series celebrating the
Feast Day of Saint André and the changing of our parish name:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6



Door Man: St. André Bessette
December 2010, U.S. Catholic Magazine

A Foot in the Door: A Community Modeled after Brother Andre Bessette, CSC
October 2010, Ministry & Liturgy Magazine

Saint Doorkeeper
September 2010, Celebrate! Magazine






This video is from the documentary, “God’s Doorkeeper | Saint Andre of Montreal.” In July of 2010, staff producers and writers from Salt and Light Television from Toronto, Canada filmed portions of our ministry at Saint Andre Bessette Church here in Portland, Oregon. This six-minute section shows the connection of our prayer and service. We are grateful to Salt and Light Television for permission to view this video clip. I invite you to pray for our parish as we continue to learn about our patron, Saint Andre Bessette and strive to live out his healing ministry in our parish community.