In the street to raise awareness

News 17 December, 2017
  • Valerie Gonthier

    Sunday, December 17, 2017 01:00

    Sunday, December 17, 2017 01:00

    Look at this article

    For a second year, a priest from montreal intends to spend the majority of his time in the street here the Holidays in the company of the poor to raise awareness of homelessness, but also to poverty.

    Even with a temperature that has fallen dramatically in the middle of the night and the many inches of snow that accumulated on the ground, the abbot Claude Paradis has slept Tuesday night under the arches of the Christ Church Cathedral on Sainte-Catherine street, in Montreal.

    “I have not slept much. It was so cold that I slept with my boots from ski-doo. It was not comfortable “, lance-t-il.

    That is important, its purpose is to draw attention to the cause of the roaming. For years, the priest rubs shoulders with on a daily basis those who live in the street. But for the second year in a row, he pushed his involvement further by spending several days and nights outside in their side.

    Challenge painful

    And this year, it adds a difficulty of his challenge : do not eat one meal per day. A problem that does not touch people in the street, he says. It is in effect said concerned by a recent statistics of the Fondation du Grand Montréal, the requirement that one household in 10 in the metropolis barely afford three meals per day.

    “Usually, people are wondering : that is what I eat for dinner ? But for many, the question is rather : is what I am going to eat ? ” said the religious 62-year-old.

    Do not eat to satisfy his hunger, he knows what it is. Homeless and a drug addict in his youth, the abbé Paradis is out of the street as a priest 20 years ago. In spite of everything, he confessed that he find its difficult challenge. On Tuesday, when he woke up in the middle of the night hungry, his sleeping bag was covered in snow. He walked for several hours to warm up, as do the homeless.

    By the Holidays, he hopes to spend as much time as possible outside. Even when the thermometer was -28 °C on Thursday, the priest did not hesitate to make his tour outside. It will ensure that the homeless are not in danger, and he discusses with them.

    Time shared

    It is not enough to walk around with him downtown to a realization that he is known to many of the homeless. He was in the habit of bring food two evenings per week. It also brings warm clothes when they need it, through its Foundation, Our-Lady-of-the-Street, who comes to the aid of the homeless.

    But recently, he divided his time among the homeless and inmates. He works as a chaplain at the prison for women in Laval. “For me, it is a continuity of what I do with the homeless. Because several of the women make a round trip between the prison and the street. “

    On the occasion of Christmas, he will celebrate a mass on 24 December, outside of the metro station Place d’armes, at 13: 30.

    Photo Valerie Gonthier

    The abbe Paradis has delivered a pair of wool socks to Peter, a homeless man who is often held on Saint-Catherine street. Of the window of the coffee shop where he has spent the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, the Stone was said to have watched over the religious who slept in front, to prevent others bother us.

    Photo Valerie Gonthier

    The abbot Paradise will often meet the homeless where they take shelter from the cold, in shelters, in subway stations or in fast food restaurants.

    Photo Martin Alarie

    Even if the thermometer was -28 °C, the religious did not hesitate to spend part of the Thursday evening outside so as to ensure that no homeless persons are in danger.

    Photo Martin Alarie

    On Tuesday evening, the abbe Paradis has slept outside a church in Montreal. Despite his warm coat and his sleeping bag, he was said to have been cold all night.

    Photo Martin Alarie

    As he does every Thursday, with a team of volunteers, he offered coffee, sandwiches and granola bars to the poor to the subway station Place-d’armes.

    Photo Valerie Gonthier

    Met in the street on Thursday, Jean-Simon Tremblay explained that it had struggled to find a sleeping bag for his pregnant girlfriend. Mr. Paradis was invited in the premises of its Foundation, at the archbishopric, the cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde. The roving 32 years is left with the material to be very coveted in the winter.

    Photo Valerie Gonthier

    The religious hands to the roving wool socks and mittens, manufactured by… his mother. Therese, 84 years, knit, 12 months a year, says Mr. Paradise. “She can knit over 200 pairs of socks in a year,” he says proudly. Her aunt Céline, the sister of his mother, also manufactures mittens in polar fleece, it also delivers in the street.

    Photo Martin Alarie

    In spite of the cold temperature, the abbot Claude Paradis has slept Tuesday night under one of the arches of the Christ Church cathedral. It is a popular place for the homeless.