A Ministry of Service ~ St. Bridget’s Residence Program
St. Bridget’s is one of many community services provided by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. It is a structured therapeutic program for homeless men and women living with HIV/AIDS. We are located downtown Newark on University Ave. just a few blocks from the main shopping area. Our program buildings were once known as St. Bridget’s Parish – a former church and rectory and a school and convent.
St. Bridget’s is not a hospice nor a medical facility, but a transitional housing program. It provides a safe and healthy environment necessary to enable each resident to empower himself. This empowerment strengthens the residents to live in a permanent residence and provide skills necessary to obtain a permanent home. This mean that the resident’s focus and energy must be placed on achieving those goals necessary to enable them to move into a permanent housing and be successful in a new home.
Ministering to homeless men with HIV/AIDS at St. Bridget’s reminds me of how St. Francis, with love and compassion, approached the leper 800 years ago. Many of our men have shared with me their personal stories of how they have been rejected by society, family and friends because of their HIV/AIDS condition. Much education is still needed in this area. “What you did for the least of these…, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). This is our testimony and our challenge to offer a better life for those who seek our services.
My weekly ministry hours and days at St. Bridget’s are from 3:00 p.m. to 12.00 a.m. – Monday through Friday. Compassion and Service has been the hallmark of my nineteen years ministering at St. Bridget’s. I have been with Catholic Charities for 26 years. Before coming to St. Bridget’s I begin my years with Catholic Charities in 1988 as a teacher of Special Education.