St. Andrew by the Bay welcomes ‘Homeless Jesus’ statue for Christmas

ANNAPOLIS – The pilgrim statue of the “Homeless Jesus” found his last shelter of 2017 at St. Andrew by the Bay in Annapolis Dec. 1. 

A lightweight, resin replica of the statue, which was created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz, has traveled around the Archdiocese of Baltimore since February, and it will remain at St. Andrew’s until Jan. 2. 

The work depicts a full-size barefoot Jesus sleeping on a park bench, covered with a blanket down to his ankles. His head almost completed hooded, showing only his crown of thorns, and naked pierced feet displaying his sacred wounds. 

The statue was strategically placed immediately inside the church sanctuary, in between the two main entrance doors, making it impossible to ignore.  

The parishioners’ reaction to the art work was immediate. 

“It was here over the weekend, so the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” said Father Jeff Dauses, pastor of St. Andrew by the Bay. “They were moved by the statue. Several said they were almost moved to tears by it.”  

Father Dauses said that young children were particularly fascinated by the artwork. 

“When their parents would point out the wounds in the feet of the statue, and the children realized it was Jesus, there was almost this audible gasp,” he noted. 

Father Dauses hopes that the statue will bring more awareness among his parishioners to their support of the Winter Relief Emergency Shelter Program, an Arundel House of Hope outreach that will have St. Andrew by the Bay provide overnight shelter Dec. 26-Jan. 2 for approximately 35 men who are homeless. 

An ecumenical program based in Glen Burnie, the Winter Relief Program involves 72 churches in Anne Arundel County to provide food, clothing, shelter and comfort during the winter months to to men and women who are homeless. 

Father Jeff Dauses, pastor of St. Andrew by the Bay in Annapolis poses with parishioner Marge Tsitouris and the “Homeless Jesus” statue. Tsitouris is the volunteer coordinator for the parish Winter Relief Program, which the parish will host Dec. 26 to Jan 2. (Rico De Silva/CR Staff)

“It takes hundreds of parishioners to make the Winter Shelter happen,” Father Dauses said. “During the whole month of December, we have sign-ups. And that’s going on while the statue is being displayed. So it’s really fitting.” 

Parishioner Marge Tsitouris is the head volunteer coordinator for the Winter Relief Program at St. Andrew by the Bay. A retired social worker, Tsitouris said it takes close to 170 volunteers to host the guests for a week at the parish. 

“It’s just so wonderful to have that statue here now, especially when we are doing the sign ups,” she said. “I’ve always felt all kinds of people, particularly those that don’t have enough, are not treated with respect. And the one thing I try to do with all the volunteers, as well, is to try to be as respectful with the guys (guests) as you can.” 

In addition to shelter, guests at St. Andrew by the Bay will enjoy all home-cooked meals, transportation and a variety of activities, such as bingo, entertainment and free haircuts. Volunteers will also do laundry for them. 

“They (guests) have an opportunity to relax, if only for a week, which is something they can’t do when they are out in the streets,” Tsitouris said. 

Father Dauses said the Homeless Jesus statue helps brings the Gospel to life. 

“We hear that Gospel all the time, ‘Whatever you did for the least, you did it for me,’” he said. “But when you see that, it puts a flesh and blood image on it. And it makes it just really incarnate.” 

There are plans for a bronze version of the statue to be on permanent display in early 2018 at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Baltimore. The parish is known for its outreach to the homeless.  

 

 A lighter weight, temporary version of The Homeless Jesus has been hosted by 28 parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore this year. 

 March 1-9: Baltimore Basilica 

March 10-17: Notre Dame Preparatory School 

March 17-24: Resurrection/St. Paul School, Ellicott City 

March 24-31: St. Francis Xavier, Hunt Valley 

March 31-April 7: Church of the Resurrection, Ellicott City 

April 7-21: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Baynesville 

April 21-28: Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg 

April 28-May 5: St. John Regional Catholic School, Frederick 

May 5-12: St. Peter, Libertytown 

May 12-19: St. Michael, Poplar Springs 

May 19-26: St. Francis of Assisi, Fulton 

May 26-June 9: St. Michael the Archangel, Overlea 

June 9-23, New All Saints, Liberty Heights 

June 23-30: St. Jude Shrine, Baltimore 

June 30-July 14: St. Francis de Sales, Abingdon 

July 14-28: St. Mark, Fallston 

July 28-Aug. 11: St. Luke, Edgemere 

Aug. 11-18: Sacred Heart of Mary, Graceland Park 

Aug. 18-Sept. 8: St. Anthony, Emmitsburg  

Sept. 8-29: St. Augustine/Ascension 

Sept. 29-October 13: The Catholic High School of Baltimore 

Oct. 13-27: Our Lady of Victory, Arbutus 

Oct. 27-Nov. 3: St. Leo the Great, Little Italy 

Nov. 3-10: Loyola Blakefield School, Towson 

Nov. 10-17: Immaculate Conception, Towson 

Nov. 17-24: St. John the Evangelist, Columbia 

Nov. 24-Dec. 1: St. Louis, Clarksville 

Dec. 1-Jan. 2: St. Andrew by the Bay, Annapolis 

 

Email Rico De Silva at rdesilva@CatholicReview.org 

 

image_pdfSave as PDFimage_printSend to Printer

Rico De Silva

Rico De Silva

Originally from Panama City, Panama, Ricardo "Rico" De Silva holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Radford University in Radford, Va.

Prior to coming to the Catholic Review as a bilingual staff writer in December 2017, Rico worked as the Hispanic communications reporter for the Catholic News Herald, the newspaper for the Diocese of Charlotte, NC., from September 2013 until May 2017.

Prior to his post with the Catholic News Herald, Rico ran his own Spanish interpreting company in the Charlotte area, as well as working as a freelance writer for a local Charlotte weekly newspaper.