PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A sculpture of a Homeless Jesus was unveiled today in Center City. The sculpture in various forms exists in cities across the country but is new in Pennsylvania. It's supposed to send a message of support but today some told our Bill Anderson that they hope it does more than that. They hope it encourages people to act and to help those in need. For Goodness Sake
The homeless population in many major cities including ours is struggling just to survive. In many circumstances, they feel forgotten by friends, family and society; however, this symbolic gesture is trying to make sure they understand that they’re not forgotten by their church.
“The sculpture reminds us from today onward to take a moment thank God for being with us while renewing our care, concern and services to those most in need.”
The unveiling of Homeless Jesus on Race Street was a big event. It’s the first such statue in Pennsylvania. It drew high ranking dignitaries in the Catholic church and was designed to reinforce a commitment to an overlooked population.
“We hope that you will see in this image a visible sign of hope that Jesus is always with you."
It also brought attention to how big a problem homelessness is in our city. In the front of the building, the sculpture was celebrated, while behind it, homeless waited just to eat.
In other cities, the response to the sculpture has been varied. Some welcome the message, some are offended by the imagery and some hope today’s concern doesn’t end tomorrow.
When FOX 29's Bill Anderson went inside the St. John’s Hospice and saw their daily commitment to providing meals and housing, maybe the varied response is the point. Maybe they want a provocative image to provoke us all to own the problem?
That’s what they did, after the program when most of the media was gone they made good on their promise and helped the man who expressed his concerns. If ten percent of the people who walk by the statue do the same, mission accomplished.
So will a statue save lives? Who knows? But what it may do is continue the conversation and in so doing make more of us act.