.- Dozens of homeless young people in Denver are receiving food, clothing, and other essentials through "48 Hours," a new initiative being launched by the Catholic group Christ in the City.
“Christ in the City’s goal for the 48 Hours Event is to build on our relationships with the homeless youth in order to promote their God-given dignity,” said Hollyn Ernstmann, who has spent the past year participating in the volunteer program that combines service with spiritual and intellectual formation.
Organizers expect to serve 50 homeless youth during the June 1-3 event. Hosted at Central Presbyterian Church and the local YMCA, it has been undertaken in partnership with the Denver Homeless Ministry and Stand Up for Kids.
Christ in the City's Homeless Taskforce Director Adam Ureneck told CNA that it had “truly been a blessing” to collaborate with other groups working to “offer a comprehensive array of resources and care” to young people in need.
As the YMCA opens its doors for recreation and showers, the Catholic missionaries will offer supplies and food donated by residents of the Denver archdiocese. Program director Yvonne Noggle said the event comes at a critical time, as the city prepares to implement a ban on urban camping.
Local shelters are reporting unusually high occupancy, as the new ban goes into effect. In a May 30 Denver Post editorial, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock argued that the controversial ordinance will help “connect those in need with vital human services.”
During this time of transition, Noggle said, Christ in the City's weekend event “allows the youth to get off the street, and find resources for permanent housing while being loved and doted on by our missionaries.”
Ureneck said the initiative was part of the group's mission to help homeless teens realize their potential, calling them to a “new future” and “a dignified life” that rises “to the stature of Christ.”
Formed in response to Blessed John Paul II's call for a “New Evangelization” of Western culture, Christ in the City is completing its first year of service in July.
In August, the program will begin training a new group of college-age Catholic missionaries for service in the Denver archdiocese.