Friday, June 07, 2024

Irish Church can help young Catholics caught in housing crisis

The Irish Church can learn from parishes in America who are responding to the housing crisis by opening unused rectories to Catholics according to a leading Irish ministry leader and speaker based in California.

“They’re starting to lease those to elderly communities, so the elderly can have assisted living communities. Or in my locality, a lot of young adults who can’t afford to get on the property market are living in community with each other in former rectories and then they’re doing service or they’re teaching in the parish or maybe they’re doing Make a Difference Day with the kids. There’s some in-kind opportunities there” says Julianne Stanz.

She added: “I am seeing the Catholic Church in America galvanized to look at real needs and real issues. I know one bishop, for example, he started a house for women who were the victims of human trafficking.

“I know one bishop who moved out of the what was called the Bishop’s Palace. And I know we have those in Ireland too.  And he moved out of it. He took a little small house, little bungalow for himself. And the whole house was turned into a home for women fleeing domestic violence and men who were fleeing domestic violence.”

Ms Stanz who’s also an author and director for Outreach for Evangelization and Discipleship with Loyola Press, says she thinks there is an opportunity for the Church in Ireland.

“So I think we have an opportunity to look at how the church can intersect with real people’s lives today. That’s where I’d love to see the Catholic Church in Ireland really look more deeply at itself and respond to the real needs of the Irish that are living there. I think the property issue is one of them.  We should be able to accommodate people, you know, justly and fairly. And if we have open spaces and open properties that are not being used, let’s look at what we can do for the good of society.”