“Pops” celebrates 15 years of ministry to street kids

.- On Dec. 8, 1988, Fr. Emmett Johns and a few volunteers parked a second-hand van in the middle of downtown Montreal and started serving hot dogs to street kids. This year, the ministry celebrates its 15th anniversary and, given the growth of his ministry, there’s a lot to celebrate.

Fr. Emmett Johns, known to Montreal’s street kids simply as “Pops”, founded Le Bon Dieu Dans La Rue (The Good Lord on the Street) after suffering a depression in his 36th year as a priest. Unable to return to parish ministry, he set out to discern where God was calling him. He heard about a project for street kids in Toronto and thought that it was something he could do in Montreal as well.

It wasn’t long before the priest had everything he needed to set up his ministry. “Everything just fell into place,” he said.

On the night of Dec. 8, 1988, Fr. Johns set out on Montreal’s streets with a used van, offering hot dogs, compassion and friendship.

It wasn’t just coincidence that Fr. Johns set out on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. “Mary and I are good friends,” he told the Catholic Times (Montreal). “I wanted to start on the good side,” he added with a laugh.

“I was scared at first,” admitted the 75-year-old priest. “I didn’t know what to expect. But the Lord has been good to me.”

The street ministry grew incredibly over the last 15 years. In addition to the van that offers food and friendship to countless youth, there is also a 20-bed emergency shelter; a day centre and a school, called Ecole du Bon Dieu, which currently offers the courses required for a high school diploma to 56 street kids. Some of the kids have even gone onto college, said Fr. Johns.

“We started without a nickel, and now we have an annual budget of $2.5 million and a healthy endowment fund. That didn’t happen because of my great management skills,” he told the Catholic Times (Montreal). “It happened because God stood by a deal that we made years ago.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family

Liturgical Calendar

July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:44-46


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
Gospel:: Mt 13: 44-46

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Chrysologus »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:44-46


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: