Feast of Christmas 2005

As we drive around the city at night in our van (“the Traveling Kitchen”), we feed more than 100 neglected “hidden” homeless who live under the bridges, in cardboard boxes and deep in the caverns of the subway. “Best Chicken Stew in Town!”, our ‘soup nazi’ says.” Father David Kirk

Feast of Christmas 2005

Someone, after seeing ‘Schindler’s List’ and how Schindler rescued some 1,500 Jews from certain death, remarked that there is an “Emmaus List” where some have been pulled from death.” Father David Kirk

Feast of Christmas 2005

“Because we are personal, nobody is a number and everyone is a human person deserving respect. Because we do not work with a pyramid structure with bosses at the top and peons at the bottom. Because we do not live off government and have tried to make some income through the work of our hands —-variously a wood workshop, building cabinets for hospitals, a second hand store and a moving company. We depend on God not Caesar ”the less you take from Caesar” Dorothy Day once wrote ”the less you must render unto Caesar.” Father David Kirk

Feast of Christmas 2005

“Emmaus is like an Inn.  On the road we pick up human wreckage come.

Some times we can only love as people come off the road like human wreckage and sometimes. We feel that it is like the pool Bethsaida we just help the sick and suffering who can’t do for themselves —step into the pool of healing water. It is crazy love.” Father David Kirk

40 Years and Counting

“Emmaus is basically run by the poor themselves, taking part in discussion making, everyone receiving a stipend, whether formally homeless or volunteers sharing their skills with us. People are not simply given “a cot and a hot” meal everyone works for Emmaus while receiving training, self relevance and empowerment in turn could we live providentially , day by day, not knowing how we will pay our bills, a month from now empowerment rather than dependency.” Father David Kirk

Christmas Letter 2004

“The Church is a hospital for wounded humanity”, St. John Chrysoston writes. And that is what Emmaus is, as we pick up wounded strangers on the road and make a healing community with them. Our doors have been widely open. We’ve seen and met the beaten down, the despairing, stretched out and crucified Christ. The experience enables us to run from our own egoism, arrogance and greed. The thousands of faces over this year still haunt me.” Father David Kirk (December 2004)

Christmas Letter 2004

“So many build a new life here and yet some bleed from wounds that it seems no one will ever heal. What are we to do? What are you to do? We listen to St. James “Suppose a brother or sister is in rags, but not enough to eat for the day and you say,’Good luck, God bless you, keep yourself warm and have plenty to eat’, but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?”(James 11:15) For almost forty years, with your help, we have answered that question by feeding the hungry, housing and empowering the homeless, caring for the sick.” Father David Kirk (December 2004)

Christmas Letter 2004

“The structure of Emmaus is a circle, communal with the poor sharing in all decisions, rather than a pyramid, with the boss at the top and peons at the bottom.  People are empowered, learn to serve and receive, and to be responsible.  Emmaus is whole and integral, rooted in community, mutual support, work, spiritual path, education, drug-free. Homelessness is not just about housing and drugs. People take control of their own lives .  The poor help the poor. Not the Ladies Guild serving Thanksgiving meals to the poor, but the poor themselves feeding hundreds still on the street.  The poor are taught they are not powerless, but can help bring about change. Not to depend on government, but on the work of their hands. Emmaus works. It really works!  It’s important that this experiment continue for the future.” Father David Kirk (December 2004)

Letter to Dirk Landis

“Emmaus has been too exceptional to lose.  Alone, we have worked out a way of service with solidarity, of organization which is a circle and not a pyramid, of unconditional compassion which is personalist and communal, of the empowered poor serving the poor.  Every other organization I know serving the poor and homeless is a clone of the usual business corporation, 9 to 5, with bosses at the top and peons at the bottom, depersonalized and sometimes inhuman.  We need Emmaus to both continue and spread in an age in which the poor are no more than a warehoused number.” Father David Kirk (5-23-2003)

Guest of Emmaus

“You are given Hospitality, for 1 night to 2 weeks, if you urgently, seriously need our home. You remain only on condition you as a guest follow the way and spirit of our family; You take 2 hours daily responsibility of work, to be given to you. You must be in house by 10pm sharp.  Don’t call. Plan your time. If you are not here, you lose your place. This is not a shelter we give the hospitality of Christ.” Father David Kirk (1965)

Letter to Hugo Chavez

“For more than a half- century I have lived with the poor and homeless and tried to serve them. Empowering communities of the poor, the powerless trained to speak to Power; feeding and serving thousands weekly; education , radical values, history and culture; 60 apartments for homeless people with AIDS; working for personal change and social change. Never depending on the governments for funds but living through the work of our hands and the support of our friends.” Father David Kirk (9-21-2006)


“If you have come for  shelter, or to help out, you are wasting your time.  But if you come for a new life and your liberation in God is bound up with us,then let us work together.” Father David Kirk

Letter to Archbishop Herman

“In 1965 we opened emmaus house a community of about sixty homeless people building new lives through work, education, therapy, a spiritual search, feeding some five hundred people daily and 1,000-2,000 people weekly.  When we saw the homeless dying in the streets of AIDS, we started both Emmaus Inn, a second community of homeless people living in some sixty apartments in dignity with their own medical staff.  When the police and others started abusing the homeless on the street, we started a legal service for them, the Urban Justice Center, now with 19 lawyers, the best such service in the land.   Not everybody wanted to take out a year or more on your life but needed a temporary place and so our homeless people gave hospitality, also two guest houses, Men and Women for some forty people.  Community meant, everyone had to participate in decision-making and had to be a human resource to those still on the street.  When I became partially sick, kidney failure, and several related disorders to save this half century of ministry, I had to let all the projects, except Emmaus House, become independent.” Father David Kirk (Feast of Xenia)

Thank You Letter-Christmas 2001

“People around here speak about the constant “miracles” that happen to us, but I would say that it is a matter of faith and God is simply doing what He said, very naturally, that this is simply the work of God.” Father David Kirk (2001)

Thank You Letter

“And Emmaus is simple Christianity where giving a cup of cold water on a hot summers day is a sacrament.” Father David Kirk (January 2004)