July 29, 2015 — Jesuit Father Timothy McCabe has always been drawn to serving the poor and marginalized — even before he was a Jesuit, he built his entire life and career around that service. Now he begins his priesthood as the associate pastor and director of the Warming Center at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church in Detroit.
The 52-year-old priest was only recently ordained, but his lifelong dedication to serving the poor began as a young man, when he was involved with the Catholic Worker Movement. It was this, Fr. McCabe said, “that exposed me to what it meant to live out the Gospel mandates of feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and advocating for peace and justice.”
He continued to pursue these ideals as the director of a refugee resettlement organization, now known as Freedom House, in Detroit, along with serving in a soup kitchen and various other projects.
On a humanitarian aid mission to El Salvador, he first met the Jesuits, and those relationships helped propel his decision to later attend the Jesuits’ University of Detroit Mercy. And after graduation, he continued his affiliation with the Jesuits, serving for 12 years as the executive director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC).
“While working with JVC I fell in love with Ignatian spirituality, and it became not only how I prayed but how I understood the world. In 2005, it became a natural step then for me to enter the Jesuits.”
Fr. McCabe waves to well-wishers on June 13 after being ordained a priest at Queen of All Saints Basilica in Chicago.
As a Jesuit, he found further opportunities to serve the poor and marginalized: working in a hospice for the homeless in San Francisco, serving as chaplain at the Oakland County Jail, and working with the Ignatian Spiritualty Project, which provides retreats to homeless men and women. Now, he serves as the director of the Warming Center at Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church. The Warming Center provides food, showers, laundry services and medical and legal assistance to the homeless. Given Fr. McCabe’s background, this is a natural progression of his life of service.
“I hope I am always missioned to where the need is greatest,” Fr. McCabe said. “I think my vocation, in some form or another, is about pointing to the One we follow, the living God present in our midst and saying, ‘Look, there He is!’
“I think that’s what our church ought to be: the expression of God’s love and infinite mercy to all persons, but especially those poor or afflicted in any way.” [Source: The Michigan Catholic]