Hospitality in Main South
Worcester City Councillor Barbara Haller says that her “Main South” neighborhood is “supersaturated” with residential programs, most notoriously the PIP shelter, a “wet” shelter that allows high and drunk people to sleep there. Others say that the shelters have been unfairly blamed for the neighborhood’s troubles. For example, Dave McMahon of the Worcester Homeless Action Committee wrote in this week’s InCity Times: “Poverty came first–it saturated neighborhoods with its terrible effects after industry moved from Main South–fact. Social service agencies came next to remedy the arrival of the ‘ghetto.’”
Monsignor Francis Scollen, of Main South’s St. Peter’s Church, spoke out on the controversy from the pulpit this week, and put the following note in the church bulletin:
The readings talk also about hospitality. We are asked to welcome people into our homes, to give a cup of cold water to the thirsty, to shelter those who are in trouble.
This happens to us as individuals, as family, as a Church, and as a neighborhood. There has been quite a debate these last several weeks about not giving people in trouble hospitality in certain neighborhoods. Well, here in Main South we show hospitality to everyone. And we are better for it.
It’s so amazing to witness politicians trying to come down firmly on both sides of the problem. Real political leadership?
Someone of our esteemed leaders came to St. John’s once and when he finished speaking an older parishioner said to Fr. Lebeau, “I don’t understand a word he said.” Fr. Lebeau replied, “Then his mission was accomplished.”
Sometimes we can understand what they are saying–and avoiding. It’s called integrity and principles.