Denver Headlights 2022: Day 1
Good Evening to whomever finds this blog.
In the beginning, there was Chris and the Carroll Crew. For the past three weeks, we prayed and prepared for our departure to Headlights by looking at Catholic Social Teaching and creating community within our group. After hours of treacherous driving conditions through the great states of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, Carroll College has finally found themselves in the safety of Christ In The City in Denver. The drive down was quite eventful: musical melodies, subway stop in Buffalo WY, Tokyo Drift on the ice, stopping at Chugwater WY with an assortment of scriptural jellies, and the casual drive through the city of Denver. 14 hours later, we finally pulled into to our new home for the week, greeted with open arms and a nice dinner. Over the next hour, other schools joined arrived including: University of Virginia, Florida Atlantic University, Pittsburg University, and University of Pennsylvania.
After a refreshing sleep, we attended two talks to start our day. The two talks consisted of an introduction to Christ In The City Ministries and love in regards to friendship with others and Jesus. Next on the agenda was a fulfilling breakfast followed by our third talk on how to how to minister on the street. Our holy hour and mass were a nice time to sit down and re-center our lives in preparation for the week.
The main focus for the day was the street tour through part of the city, which was all about introducing us to the environment that the homeless are living in and trying to build an understanding of their situations. The tour was eye-opening and really made us appreciate what we have in our own lives. Our homeless friends have to look for a place to settle each night, but the city doesn’t make it easy for them. Many of these places are isolated and hidden from regular eyes, giving the impression that our friends don’t want to be seen. The thought was heartbreaking and difficult to process. We, as humans, are drawn for social interaction. We yearn to be seen and be acknowledged. We want to be loved. This is was drives our lives. Those on the streets don’t receive any of that. They are looked down upon, disregarded in society, or just plainly seen as a burden to the public well-being. The city does what it can to prevent homeless populations from staying in public areas and whether it be for safety or just to prevent a potential camp spot, so those looking for homes resort to poor living conditions. Some of these areas consist of being under bridges with rough ground or pigeons to one person climbing onto the cables of a bridge to get as far away from people as possible. This is not at all what God wants for His sons and daughters. Jesus came and taught us to love one another with all our hearts, as brothers and sisters. We need to be there for our friends and LOVE them.
The walk made me realize the importance of love and community. It made me realize that we all need to be seen and heard. It made me realize that no matter who I am and what my social status or living status may be, I am a human being with dignity and deserving of love and respect. These people lives lives most of us can’t even imagine or understand. The thought of living each day not knowing where the next meal will be or where to sleep is truly saddening. I am grateful for what God has given me in my life and I know that I need to not take them for granted.
When we have our first day of street ministry, I am looking forward to making connections with our homeless friends. I am prepared to live the way of the Lord as best as I can. I know that we are loved and that God loves us, and I want to make sure that every human being knows this. It is our duty to lift one another up in a loving way and only through our own actions can we make this world a more loving place.