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Catholic Priest ‘left’ presbytery to sleep rough on streets

IN an act of compassion, Rev Richard McKay, a Catholic Priest and Chair of Bristol City of Sanctuary has decided this time not only to lead from the pulpit but join others in the ‘front line’ sleeping rough on the street of the city of Bristol to highlight the mostly hidden problem of homeless in the city.

On the night of Friday 28th February to the morning of Saturday 1st March I will be joining dozens of others who will be sleeping rough in the grounds of ‘Pip n Jay’ Church here in Bristol,” said Rev McKay.

“ Why am I leaving my warm presbytery to sleep rough out in the elements on a cold late winter’s night? We have a large and mostly hidden problem of homelessness and rough sleepers in our wealthy city of Bristol,” he said.

Three things push Rev McKay. “So firstly, along with the others who will be ‘sleeping out’, I want to be part of highlighting this issue so that policy makers and we who elect them will face up to the plight of these most marginalised brothers and sisters.

“Secondly, as a Christian and a priest I want even in this very little way, to share their plight, be in communion with them and the homeless Jesus ‘who had nowhere to lay his head’. It is for me an act of prayer in action, sacred communion with Jesus on the margins of society.

Thirdly, I want to raise funds to support homeless asylum-seekers through our ‘Borderlands’ Charity founded by St Nicholas of Tolentino Parish.

So many of our sisters and brothers seeking safe sanctuary among us are made homeless and utterly destitute by our inhuman immigration rules. It is an offence against God and human rights that ‘cries out to heaven’.”

Rev McKay is calling for support from members of the public and that of his diocesan family to sponsor him on this overnight ‘sleep out’.

How to make your donation:

Just send a donation to Rev Richard McKay at st Nick’s (cheques made payable to ‘Borderlands Charity’ with ‘sleepout;’ on the reverse) and post to: St Nicholas of Tolentino Church, Lawford’s Gate, Bristol, BS5 0RE

Tel: 0117 9833920

“But just as important, I ask you to join in prayer for our homeless sisters and brothers, and all destitute and homeless asylum-seekers. And what about finding out the facts of homelessness in your area and consider what you and your parish can do about it?,” he said.

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