It has been a month that has reminded me of how relentlessly unforgiving the street is to its people. Like a scorned lover, it will try to grasp them from the arms of freedom to ensnare them in their old ways.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

Warm weather can bring out the best and the worst in the parishioners of the church on the street. It can lull them into a state of lassitude that can only be equalled by a homily that has lost sight of its destination, or else stir them into frenetic anger fuelled by an assortment of illicit stimulants.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

There are some days it is harder than others to get up the energy, and indeed the courage to make the trip downtown to the Church on the Street, and this was one of them.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

Have you ever had an experience in your life and you are not sure if you dreamt it or lived it? Mine goes back at least 50 years and it is as vivid today as if it happened yesterday.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

It was the walk that first attracted my attention. Not so much a walk as a hobble, dragging one leg painfully after the other. Dusk had descended on the streets and the chill of winter had finally given way to the promise of spring, although it was still far too cold for the many people scattered around the neighbouring homeless shelters.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

Two sandwiches, a fruit bar, three granola bars, one chocolate bar, maybe a muffin or some other baked treat and a fruit cup all in a brown, paper bag — times 200,000.

Published in Canada

Despite the promise of spring in the air, the day had turned windy and blustery, cutting sharply through the heavy jacket I reserve for evenings such as these on the street.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

One of my favourite authors is George Mackay Brown, who rarely left his native Orkney, a remote island off the coast of Scotland.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

A few weeks ago, I was on an intimate online call with one of our political leaders. Well, when I say it was an intimate call, it was intimate in the way a private audience with the Pope is intimate, namely there were as many people on the call as the bandwidth could support.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

There are some sounds you just don’t expect to hear downtown. Police and ambulance sirens intermingled with fights and screaming are commonplace, but as I passed a darkened lane, I heard the soothing sound of someone singing the 1929 chart topper, “Tiptoe through the tulips.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

If “The Church on the Street” were a weekly contribution to The Catholic Register, then I would frequently have the wrath of the editor on my shoulders as I submit, “Walked around downtown; nothing happened. The end.” Especially in these COVID-ridden times the streets are devoid of much of the activity that unfortunately led one journalist to write-off the area as “plagued by crack addicts, drug dealers and low-rent sex trade workers.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

We all want to be known for something. In moments of self-doubt and weakness we look back on our lives and ask ourselves, “Did my life have meaning to anyone? What will people remember me for?” Pastoral care is the ability to walk with others and to assist them in uncovering within themselves the Gospel that they have written through their lives.

Published in Robert Kinghorn

With the needs of the less fortunate exasperated in so many ways by COVID-19, volunteers with the summer Street Patrol ministry have continued providing meals to those living on the streets of downtown Toronto.

Published in Canada

Many years ago, I heard the story of a school principal in South Africa who quit his job rather than submit to the school’s apartheid policy of racial discrimination. His friends told him he was crazy, but he said, “One day I am going to meet God, and God will ask me, ‘Where are your wounds?’ If I reply that I have no wounds, God will ask me, ‘Was there nothing that was worth fighting for?’ I could not face that question.”

Published in Robert Kinghorn

At school I was told that before the advent of radio and television, the great novelists such as Charles Dickens would write their books to be read around the fireplace in the evening. In so doing they would make their chapters short enough for an evening’s read and closed with a cliff-hanger.

Published in Robert Kinghorn
Page 1 of 2