Claude Paradis was impoverished and homeless, living on the streets of Montreal, Canada. He struggled with addiction to both alcohol and drugs, with a future so bleak, he considered ending his own life.
He did not end his life, however, and today he is a priest who dedicates his time to serving the physical and spiritual needs of those trapped in poverty, prison and prostitution.
“The street brought me to the Church and the Church in the end brought me back to the street,” the priest told the Journal Metro.
This past December, as a sign of his closeness and solidarity with the homeless, Fr. Paradis decided to sleep on the street for the whole month, to care for the homeless people there with solidarity and charity.
His hope was that he could accompany people in a difficult situation while also making the citizens of Montreal aware of the harsh reality faced by those living on the street.
Fr. Paradi founded an institution called Notre-Dame-de-la-rue (Our Lady of the Street). Each night, he goes out to bring food and shelter to those living on the streets. He also administers the sacraments, celebrates the Eucharist and even presides at funerals.
The priest is accompanied by one of his co-workers, Kevin Cardin, who also was addicted to drugs, but found help, changed his life and now has a family.
Read the rest at Catholic News Agency.