Uplifting Lives:

St. Al’s Comprehensive Approach to Serving the Underserved

Kathleen V. Carsten OFS & Michael Carsten OFS

St. Aloysius Detroit’s Commitment to Prolife Values and Social Outreach

St. Al’s commitment to serving the poor is rooted in its pro-life beliefs, which prioritize the dignity and worth of every human life. This includes not only the unborn but also those marginalized and vulnerable in society, such as the poor, the homeless, the sick, and the elderly.

Defining St. Al’s as a church of and for the poor means its mission and ministry are centered on serving those most in need—our sisters and brothers, regardless of social or economic status. This means that everyone who seeks assistance or support from the church is welcomed and treated with compassion and respect.

To champion those in need, St. Al’s offers a range of programs designed to provide essential supplies, companionship, and assistance.

Empowering Families: Essential Supplies for Children and Seniors

One of the key initiatives at St. Al’s is to provide indispensable items such as infant formula, diapers, clothing, winter coats, cribs, and other essential supplies to those in need. By collaborating with local organizations and offering direct assistance, the ministry ensures families can access crucial resources for their well-being.

St. Al’s also supports seniors who are raising their grandchildren, providing food, beds, clothing, and winter gear to keep them comfortable and warm.

Truck Ministry: Compassionate Care for the Homeless and Mentally Ill

The Truck Ministry, now in its 12th year at St. Aloysius, offers care, warmth, and support to the homeless and mentally ill living on Detroit’s streets. This initiative fosters fellowship and provides winter survival gear, sleeping bags, coats, hats, gloves, clean socks, hot chocolate, coffee, and sandwiches every Wednesday morning to those unable to reach the church.

Wednesday Morning Breakfast Ministry: A Sanctuary of Friendship and Support

For 14 years, the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Ministry has provided food, clothing, and companionship to those in need. In front of the Parish Office, visitors enjoy hot egg McMuffin sandwiches and fresh fruit, with volunteers granting full access to the ministry’s supplies storeroom. During summer, a sidewalk café ambiance is created with tables and chairs, offering a warm and inviting experience.

Thursday Morning Old Timers Breakfast Ministry: Fostering Community Connections

A community staple for 15 years, the Thursday Morning Old Timers Breakfast Ministry serves sandwiches, hot coffee, hot chocolate, fresh fruit, and essential supplies to those in need. Like the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Ministry, a sidewalk café is set up during summer, promoting a sense of connection and camaraderie. Health care and emergency support are readily available for those who require them.

Saturday BBQ: A Weekend Social Event for Everyone

Every Saturday morning, St. Al’s hosts a breakfast barbecue featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, hot chocolate, hot coffee, bottled water, potato chips, cookies, and sweet desserts for the entire community.

Additional Outreach Programs at St. Aloysius

Going deeper still into the needs of the community and addressing these needs, St. Aloysius continues to offer the following:

  1. For 24 years, Whole Health Ministry/Faith Community Nurse
    • Focuses on wholistic health (mind, body, and spirit) for individuals and the community
    • Offers health assessments, counseling, referrals, education, visitations, and advocacy for social justice and systemic change
    • For 20 years, and close to 600 nursing students later, St. Al’s serves as a student nurse community health clinical site (Wayne State, UDM, and others)
  2. Weekly Grocery Ministry
  3. Senior Program
    • S.H.A.R.E. (Seniors for Health, Advocacy, Reform, and Education) meets every Thursday morning, beginning with prayer and continuing with health education, self and group advocacy, and support
    • Trips outside the downtown area
    • Offers ecumenical scripture study for community seniors led by police chaplains
    • Weekly walks in the downtown community with Detroit police

New Ministries Developed by Co-Directors of Evangelical Charity 

Through our leadership as Co-Directors of Evangelical Charity for our family of parishes, namely Resurget Cineribus, the development of two new ministries:

  1. Mental Health Ministry, start-up, August 2022
    • The mission of the Mental Health Ministry (paraphrased) is to provide a trusted atmosphere where isolation and stigma dissipate as a supportive community is created.
  2. Snack Pack Ministry: Nurturing Detroit’s Youth
    • In partnership with the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION), the Snack Pack Ministry provides supplemental food and hygiene supplies to students in need at Detroit Central High School. Acknowledging students’ challenges during weekends away from school, the ministry collects, packages, and delivers food and hygiene items to support their well-being. Plans are underway to expand this program to more high schools in the near future.

Embodying Pro-life Values through Service and Advocacy

At the heart of St. Al’s dedication to serving the poor is the belief that all people are created in the image of God and, as such, deserve love, respect, and dignity. By serving and advocating for the poor, St. Al’s seeks to embody pro-life values of compassion, justice, and solidarity, ultimately uplifting lives and fostering a more inclusive community.

Please let us know if you would like more information on how you might join us in this good work.




Author: Mike Carsten OFS

Member of the Secular Franciscan Order; Minister, Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity; President, Franciscan Ministries Inc., Serving the poor in Southeast Michigan;

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