Why We Walk

Raising awareness throughout the community

Our inspiration and namesake, Fr. Horace McKenna, S.J. walked the streets around St. Aloysius parish bringing food, comfort and spiritual wisdom to his neighbors. We honor him by walking, as he walked, through the neighborhood he served. The Walk reminds us to follow in Horace’s footsteps.

Since 2017, we have welcomed walkers across the country to participate both virtually and in person to gather as a community and honor Fr. McKenna’s life and legacy. Our community has grown substantially because of the incredible supporters and donors that help make our mission possible.


The 6th Annual Walk for McKenna was a huge success!
We raised over $61,000, which goes directly to support men experiencing homelessness and the men who participate in the McKenna Academy.
We had 354 registered walkers and 250 of those who joined us as we walked in Father McKenna’s footsteps. Our 100 virtual walkers walked in Falls Church, St. Mary’s Court, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Charlottesville, Blacksburg at Virginia Tech, San Francisco, and Vatican City.

Walk4McKenna 2021

The 2021 Walk Benefited The McKenna Man Project

Who is a McKenna Man?

A McKenna Man has successfully worked The Better Life Pyramid, completed our program, and remained independent and stable for at least a year.
A McKenna Man exemplifies the attributes of honest, humility and self-awareness.

Why did the Center start this project?

We recognized that change is both a personal and community journey.
Through The McKenna Man Project, we provide resources, mentorship and encouragement to men committed to the ongoing work of a stable life.

Walk4McKenna 2020

The coronavirus pandemic could not keep friends of The Father McKenna Center from walking!

When it became clear that we could not gather on Eye Street for the 4th Annual Walk4McKenna we quickly shifted to create a virtual walk.  Rather than meet on Eye Street, we invited friends and supporters to walk in their neighborhoods and invite friends and family members.

Wow!  Did people turn out!  More than 500 walkers in 23 states and in Afghanistan walked with us on September 19th.  We had folks sharing photos overlooking downtown Pittsburgh, lower Manhattan and all around the DMV!

The walk was enhanced by a partnership with Gonzaga this year.  Over a dozen parents from the Gonzaga Mothers Club and Gonzaga Fathers Club hosted a ‘pod’ of ten freshmen (or less) to walk safely in their own neighborhoods and at a social distance.  The pods all reported in via zoom and the event was livestreamed on our Facebook page, thanks to Liminal Entertainment.

It was a beautiful day in the DMV and we are grateful to everyone who participated.  It was our best Walk4McKenna yet, in terms of fundraising.  The Center raised over $35,000 for programing to meet needs and reclaim lives.

Prior Walk Programs

  • 2017 – Food Pantry and Hympothermia Program
  • 2018 – Day Program for Men Experiencing Homelessness
  • 2019 – Day Program for Men Experiencing Homelessness
  • 2020 – Day Program for Men Experiencing Homelessness.


Photos from our Walks