Bishop Tobin visits Emmanuel House to offer Christmas blessings, gifts to shelter guests

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PROVIDENCE — Bishop Thomas J. Tobin visited the diocesan Emmanuel House homeless shelter in South Providence on Wednesday, Dec. 18, to offer the 65 nightly guests and the staff who serve them his blessings for the Christmas season and also to remind the men seeking shelter that Christmas has a very deep spiritual meaning.

“It’s about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Nobody should understand the meaning of Christmas more than the people who come to, work at or stay at Emmanuel House,” Bishop Tobin said, noting that “Emmanuel” means “God is with us. And every time you come here you should be reminded of that truth: God is with you.”

The bishop, along with Emmanuel House Director Dotty Perreault, diocesan Catholic Charities and Social Ministry Director John Barry and diocesan Catholic Social Services Supervisor James Jahnz presented new backpacks, some of which were donated by Our Lady of Loretto Parish, which were filled with thermal pants and tops, socks, gloves and hand warmers, along with hygiene supplies, hot chocolate and oatmeal.

The evening visit also featured pizza for dinner, followed by dessert.