SJC and Local Community Gather to Raise Awareness of Youth Homelessness with Vigil

November 20, 2013

Saint Joseph’s College and the Rensselaer community will gather for the 23rd Annual Covenant House Candlelight Vigil for Homeless Youth on Thursday, November 21 at 4:30 pm CST in the Saint Joseph’s Chapel. The vigil coincides with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (Nov. 16-24, 2013).

Covenant House, founded in 1972, has reached more than one million young people with immediate assistance such as food and shelter. It also provides the necessary support to transition from a life on the streets to a life with a future. This includes community outreach; substance abuse intervention; educational and vocational opportunities; and counseling, health, and legal services.

“It is important to keep those who don’t have the basic necessities of food and shelter in mind,” said SJC Campus Minister Br. Tim Hemm, C.PP.S. ’70. “At the vigil, we can reflect, listen, sing, pray, and become more aware of the blessings we have, while thinking of ways in which we can reach out to those who might not have as much.”

The statistics for homeless youths are troubling. Almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18, and more than 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system.

At the event, SJC’s men’s and women’s soccer teams will collect new and gently used T-shirts as part of their annual “Pumas Take off Their Shirts to Stop the Hurt for the Kids of Covenant House” T-shirt drive. The boys and girls of the Saint Augustine Catholic School choir will return to lead attendees in song during the vigil, and Rensselaer Mayor Steve Wood will again speak at the event.

For more information on the vigil, contact Br. Tim Hemm at or 219.866.6110 or Covenant House Vigil Director Joey Krisch ’15 at

Named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation, a "Best Midwestern College" by the Princeton Review, and “Best Value” and "Best Midwestern College" by US News & World Report, Saint Joseph's College is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 35 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of nearly 1,200 students.

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