Imagine going months without hearing your name. Imagine hundreds of people walking right by you, without eye contact or a single word, day in and day out.
This is the reality for thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness across the nation. One Denver-based apostolate has been quietly working to change that for the last decade, fostering a culture of encounter in which each person is seen, known and loved. The missionaries of Christ in the City hit the streets of Denver and Philadelphia multiple times each week, walking the same routes and getting to know the homeless they come across through consistent encounters.
This Easter season, the mission and work of Christ in the City will come off the streets and onto the big screen in the local premiere of “Homeless But Human,” a documentary delving into the journey to build that very culture, featuring the very individuals whose voices so often go unheard. The documentary will premiere April 14 at the Colorado Center Regal Theater. Tickets are free and can be found here.
“This is a documentary that allows the viewers to have a deep insight into the real challenges of people experiencing homelessness,” said Eduardo Regal, Executive Director of Christ in the City. “The Christ in the City missionaries become a window for the audience to learn about the joys and sorrows of their friends living on the streets and how Christian friendship is transforming lives.”
“Through this film, we highlight the crucial role of human connection in motivating individuals to make positive changes in their lives,” shared Abby Arnold, Director of Communications at Christ in the City, and the film’s lead producer. “Our hope is that viewers gain a fresh perspective on the rising problem of homelessness and recognize the power of building relationships in addressing it.”
A problem that seems omnipresent in our society, homelessness has come to the fore in this year’s mayoral elections in Denver. Many have spoken about the homeless, intuiting causes, proposing solutions and demanding action, but few have spoken to the homeless, inviting their input, feedback and, most importantly, their testimony.
“The film is important for Catholics because it demonstrates how living out our faith is necessarily connected to drawing near to people and their lives, sometimes beyond what is normally comfortable,” said Sam Schultz, Director of Homeless Outreach at Christ in the City. “The film shows that behind the problem of homelessness are human beings — people that are in need of not only a meal and a housing plan, but also in need of a friend and Godly love.”
“It will be an eye-opening experience to learn from first-hand testimonies of the missionaries and their friends in the streets,” Regal agreed. “Like, for example, how friendship can help a person to get a house after 40 years of living in the streets. People attending the premiere will leave the theater with a completely new approach to the homeless person they see every day at the traffic light.”
Produced by Christ in the City and Martin Jernberg, a Catholic filmmaker who has worked with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs), FOCUS and many other organizations and groups, “Homeless But Human” is the product of a deep immersion into the life and mission of Christ in the City. After spending months working with the missionaries and listening to their “friends on the street,” as the missionaries call the homeless that they encounter, “The resulting film offers a rare and authentic perspective into life on the streets, featuring stories from the men and women we serve, and highlighting the effectiveness of Christ in the City’s relational approach to homeless ministry,” said Arnold.
In short, said Schultz, “Attend the premiere to be a part of the cultural change we need in the Church to be friends with poor people. Jesus is there waiting for us.”
For more information on “Homeless But Human” and to get a free ticket to the local premiere, visit christinthecity.org.