For years, Gannon University has sent students, faculty and staff to volunteer on building projects across the world. But, what if Gannon had its own destination that could be home to volunteers on service projects in Erie?
On September 22 that question was answered as ground was broken for the St. Joseph House of Faith in Action.
With a mission to humbly serve neighbors in the spirit and example of St. Joseph the Worker through purposeful programs and actions, St. Joseph House will be an outreach ministry of Gannon University’s Center for Social Concerns built upon a foundation of service, simplicity, community and reflection.
"...we see St. Joseph House as a seed that will grow to become a strong symbol of hope for the community and others to see."
St. Joseph House of Faith in Action is intentionally located at the heart of the Our West Bayfront (OWB) community to provide a simple yet functional home base for individuals and groups to gather and join in as integrated partners in the community’s revitalization. St. Joseph House will serve the OWB community by creating a retreat and community-based learning center for small group activities and gatherings.
Watch a video of the groundbreaking and blessing ceremony.
“We want to create an awareness of the great things that are happening and the transformation that is coming to OWB, making it a model for community development. That’s a lot of hope for a small project, but we see St. Joseph House as a seed that will grow to become a strong symbol of hope for the community and others to see,” said Gannon University President Keith Taylor, Ph.D.
The building was designed to be in harmony with the existing residences of its historic neighborhood. Among its notable features are a community room for groups to gather for reflection, social programming and casual relaxation, and ample open space to accommodate 12-15 individuals for overnight stays. Two small private bedrooms will house the Gannon employees who will serve as permanent tenants, increasing their ability for financial savings so that they might someday own their own homes in the neighborhood.
Funding for the creation of the St. Joseph House was provided by Gannon alumni, friends and supporters of the Mission of the center. Building Systems Inc. (BSI) graciously committed to manage the volunteer build of the center so that Gannon students, employees and members of the broader community who are of like mind, heart and interest in achieving the purpose of this project may join in the construction effort.
“The St. Joseph House of Faith in Action provides a welcoming home for all who seek to serve in solidarity with the local, urban community and to be transformed through their own efforts to transform the neighborhoods of Our West Bayfront, one act of kindness at a time,” Taylor said.