How can you help us during the Coronavirus crisis?

First and foremost, we need your prayers:

  • for calm and courage in uncertainty
  • for our clients who already have stress and strain in their lives
  • for kindness and compassion at a time when community ties are challenged

You can also pray with us by following this link to Prayer for a Pandemic by Cameron Bellm

Please continue your support of our mission. We know that the most effective support you can offer is a financial contribution You can donate here.

Please stay in touch by:

  • Following us on social media (links at the top of this page)
  • Signing up for our newsletter this newsletter (link at the bottom of this page)
  • Sharing our mission with your friends

We know there will be tremendous rebuilding necessary after the social and economic disruption of COVID-19. We will not be able to do that without you – thank you for your support and we will see you soon.

Program Modifications

Updated July 27, 2020

The Father McKenna Center has modified its programs and services in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Father McKenna Center has modified its programs and services in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our response is principally guided by a commitment to our mission of service to Fr. Horace McKenna’s “flock,” and our focus is always on the safety and dignity of the people we serve. We are following the guidelines established by the DC Department of Human Services and the movement to Phase II regulations issued by Mayor Bowser.

The Board of Directors of The Father McKenna Center has authorized us to take the steps outlined below. In these challenging times with fast-evolving information and guidelines, we continue to adjust our programs.  This page will be regularly reviewed and date stamped to ensure accurate and timely information.

The Day Program has re-opened with a modified schedule. There will be two service sessions: 7:30 am to 9:30 am and 10:30 am – 12:30 pm (last entry 11:15). During each session a man can have a meal (Breakfast: 7:30 am to 8:30 am or Lunch: 11:30 am), access to a shower, case management and mail distribution.  Limited clothing will be available (socks, T-shirts and underwear). Guests, volunteers and staff will undergo a health screening including a temperature check before they enter the Center. Masks must be worn at all times, except during meals. Social distancing will be practiced. All services will be delivered outside on Eye Street to improve social distancing and reduce social contacts.  You can learn more about the District’s response here.

The hours for the Food Pantry have changed. The Food Pantry is open from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday. This is a temporary change in the hours of operation. We continue to serve our regular Food Pantry patrons to ensure we balance nutrition, safety, and dignity. Food Pantry patrons can access the pantry twice each month (every 14 days).

We are accepting new applicants to the program. Applicants must be residents of Ward 6 and should bring valid picture ID, proof of residence (lease, mortgage, or utility bill), and proof of income (SNAP, Medicaid, or SSI statement).

  • Food Hub

We are serving as a Community Food Hub Distribution Point, in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank.

Any DC Resident with ID can collect groceries as often as needed from our pop-up Food Hub at 900 North Capitol Street, NW, in front of St. Aloysius Church on the Campus of Gonzaga High School. We are open Monday through Thursday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

Grocery bags usually include:  9 – 11 canned foods (vegetables, soup, fruit), peanut butter, and dried foods (rice or pasta, beans), as well as fresh produce.

The Father McKenna Center welcomes volunteers to support all of our programs: the Day Program (7:30 am to 9:30 am or 10:15 am to 12:30 pm).

We are looking volunteers to help us prepare, make, and serve meals, distribute clothing, and clean and sanitize our environment. Can you lend a hand?

If you are interested, below are the Signup Genius forms for July and August:

July Day Program: Monday-Friday from 7:15-10:30AM or 10:15AM-1:30PM
August Day Program: Monday-Friday from 7:15-10:30AM or 10:15AM-1:30PM

Volunteer opportunities also exist to serve in our Food Pantry and Grab and Go. Signup Genius links for the months of July and August can be found below:

July
Food Pantry
Grab and Go

August
Food Pantry
Grab and Go

Immersion programs have been suspended until further notice.

The Hypothermia Program has come to an end for this season. It remained open for an additional 16 weeks this year to provide a safe and structured environment for the men on the journey to a more stable and meaningful life. We are not accepting new applicants at this time.

Lessons & Carols

December 2019: Lessons & Carols

Lessons and Carols
For The Father McKenna Center

Please join us for an Evening of Prayer & Song
Wednesday, December 18, 7 pm

St. Aloysius Church, 900 North Capitol Street, NW
Admission Free

The Father McKenna proudly presents its 2nd annual Lessons & Carols, which brings together, in worship and celebration, the men of McKenna who struggle with homelessness, that staff who work on their behalf, and the community who supports them.

A century ago the newly appointed dean of King’s Chapel (Cambridge, England) developed a creative way for residents from Cambridge University and its local city to celebrate Christmas beyond the standard liturgy of the Church of England.  By weaving scripture with song and drawing upon a variety of participants, this service helped a country heal from the devastation of World War I, and through annual BBC broadcasts, inspire a tradition that many communities have adapted for their own Advent and Christmas celebrations.

With the support of the Jesuit Community of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, The Father McKenna Center brings together members of Jesuit and Ignatian ministries in the greater Washington, DC area, including: Gonzaga College High School, Holy Trinity Parish (Georgetown), Ignatian Volunteer Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Georgetown Jesuit Community, Georgetown Preparatory School, Georgetown University and The Father McKenna Center, along with Holy Redeemer Parish (Washington DC), Catholic University of America and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary.

September 2020: McKenna Walk

The 4th Annual Walk4McKenna!

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2020

Time: 8:15 am

Place: Virtual Walk and Online

Please join us for the 4th Annual Walk4McKenna. This year our event will benefit the Day Program for Men Experiencing Homelessness.

The Walk4McKenna commemorates Fr. Horace McKenna’s efforts to help the poor. Each day he would walk the neighborhoods surrounding St. Aloysius Church offering greetings and financial assistance to families in need.

Registration is $35.00 per person and includes a t-shirt that will be mailed to you in advance of Walk Day. (To ensure time to mail t-shirts, please register by September 11.)

We will host an online community during the morning of September 19, and invite those who walk remotely to take videos and photos and share those with us, so we can share with the online community.

To register, please click here.

We may not be walking together, but we are joined by our commitment to accompany and care for our brothers and sisters in need.

How can you make the 4th Annual Walk4McKenna special?

 

February 2019: Jigs & Reels

Lessons & Carols

December 2018: Inaugural Lessons & Carols

 

Lessons and Carols

On the evening of December 20th, 2018 the great church of St. Aloysius rang with the sounds and songs of Lessons & Carols.   This service of nine readings and nine carols is a tradition that began in England in 1918 to celebrate Christmas.  Last Thursday the celebration was led by a choir of men from the Day Program at The Father McKenna Center who are struggling with or have conquered homelessness.  The McKenna Center Singers have been practicing for 10 weeks, under the direction of Rev. Phil Ganir, SJ.   They were joined by The Least of These Gospel Choir from Holy Redeemer Church.

Over one hundred people enjoyed the prayerful service, and most of them plan to attend next year.  The greatest measure of success, however, is the pride that The McKenna Center Singers felt.  “I never knew that I could sing in front of people like that,” said Eric S.  “It was great to be part of the group.”

 

 

 

 

Music included traditional carols such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Once in Royal David’s City,” as well as the traditional spiritual “Yield Not to Temptation” and the more recent “I Will Get There.”  The Least of These Gospel Choir shared a particularly powerful rendition of “Mary Did You Know?”

 

 

After the service, Conductor Rev. Phil Ganir, SJ from the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Jesuit Community said, “My deepest consolation was seeing how the McKenna men made this century-old prayer service their own.  Hearing them sing their faith made my Christmas extra special.”

We thank all of our readers:

Mr. Mark Emery, Gonzaga College High School

Mrs. Cathy Fox, Gonzaga Mothers Club

Rev. Mr. Willis Daniels, Deacon, Holy Redeemer Parish

Ms. Analise Brower, Washington Jesuit Academy

Rev. Ron Anton, SJ, Georgetown Jesuit Community

Sr. Lisa Buscher, RSCJ, Contemplative Leaders in Action

Mrs. Tania Chomiak-Salvi, Holy Trinity Parish

Mr. Patrick Gaul, Georgetown Preparatory School – class of 2020

Mr. Gerry Nolan, The Father McKenna Center Board of Directors

 

Please join us on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 for the Second Annual Lessons & Carols!

Lost Boys

June 2018: Journey to Restoration

On Thursday, June 28, 2018 the Father McKenna Center hosted the play Journey to Restoration: The Father McKenna Center Way at 7:00 pm in The Father McKenna Center.

“The stories were so moving. I have a new appreciation of the challenges that men who are homeless face, and the important work that The Father McKenna Center does to guide and support these men along their journey to restoring their lives,” commented Lauren Malone after the staging of “Journey to Restoration: The Father McKenna Center Way.”

 

 

On June 28, 2018 Cortez McDaniel, the Director of Services at the Center, and four men from the program told their stories of reclaiming their lives through the intervention of the Father McKenna Center. Calvin Guy, Danny Dotson, Andrew Gavins and Brian Graham each told how he had made poor choices and ended up homeless, and that they were not sure how he could reclaim their life. Each recounted that the Father McKenna Center, and the companionship of Cortez, and others on the Father McKenna Center team, had made all the difference in their lives.  Heartfelt songs and spirituals sung by the cast reinforced their stories.

The June performance was a reprise of the play, “Lost Boys,” that was staged in 2017. This about seventy people were in attendance, and they were all amazed at the stories and the power of the retelling those stories. Kim Cox, the President of the Center, during her introduction said, “The process has been illustrative of the lives of the men we serve. Several members of the cast dropped out over the last month, and the current cast only coalesced two weeks ago! But I can tell you that the experience of telling their stories has been cathartic for each of these men.”

The Center plans to shorten the production to a 20-minute presentation that could be staged for a parish or other groups to illustrate the struggles of those who are temporarily homeless and to demonstrate the impact of The Father McKenna Center on those who choose to make changes in their lives.  Please contact Kim Cox if you would like to schedule a performance.

 

Lost Boys

June | Journey to Restoration

On Thursday, June 28, 2018 the Father McKenna Center hosted the play Journey to Restoration: The Father McKenna Center Way at 7:00 pm in The Father McKenna Center.

“The stories were so moving. I have a new appreciation of the challenges that men who are homeless face, and the important work that The Father McKenna Center does to guide and support these men along their journey to restoring their lives,” commented Lauren Malone after the staging of “Journey to Restoration: The Father McKenna Center Way.”

On June 28, 2018 Cortez McDaniel, the Director of Services at the Center, and four men from the program told their stories of reclaiming their lives through the intervention of the Father McKenna Center. Calvin Guy, Danny Dotson, Andrew Gavins and Brian Graham each told how he had made poor choices and ended up homeless, and that they were not sure how he could reclaim their life. Each recounted that the Father McKenna Center, and the companionship of Cortez, and others on the Father McKenna Center team, had made all the difference in their lives.  Heartfelt songs and spirituals sung by the cast reinforced their stories.

The June performance was a reprise of the play, “Lost Boys,” that was staged in 2017. This about seventy people were in attendance, and they were all amazed at the stories and the power of the retelling those stories. Kim Cox, the President of the Center, during her introduction said, “The process has been illustrative of the lives of the men we serve. Several members of the cast dropped out over the last month, and the current cast only coalesced two weeks ago! But I can tell you that the experience of telling their stories has been cathartic for each of these men.”

The Center plans to shorten the production to a 20-minute presentation that could be staged for a parish or other groups to illustrate the struggles of those who are temporarily homeless and to demonstrate the impact of The Father McKenna Center on those who choose to make changes in their lives.  Please contact Kim Cox if you would like to schedule a performance.

 

Jigs & Reels

February | Jigs & Reels

Jigs & Reels – February 25, 2018

Jigs & ReelsThe 11th Annual Jigs & Reels was held on Sunday, February 25, 2018. The Father McKenna Center, in collaboration with Mitch Fanning and the Bog Band, hosted the event in Gonzaga College High School’s Sheehy Theater.

The event featured the Bog Band, a group of secondary students, who study traditional Irish music under the tutelage of Mitch Fanning. Along side the Bog Band were two groups of Irish dancers, from the Sean Culkin School of Dance and the Shannon Dunne Dancers.

Jigs & ReelsEach year the event is open to all, with a request for a free will offering to support the work of The Father McKenna Center. The Center hosted a light refreshment intermission in the Upper Commons at Gonzaga.

The musicians were joined by All-Ireland championship fiddler Brian Conway and Lilt – a special treat for the audience, the dancers and the members of The Bog Band!