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Drop-in centre reaches the darkest pockets of society

Real treasure: Men and women have turned their lives around thanks to members of Catholic outreach Blind Eye Ministries, led by Roby Curtis (front centre) and chaplain Fr Tony Girvan (front left).

Real treasure: Men and women have turned their lives around thanks to members of Catholic outreach Blind Eye Ministries, led by Roby Curtis (front centre) and chaplain Fr Tony Girvan (front left).

By Emilie Ng

MEMBERS of a grassroots Catholic ministry have established their first drop-in centre to provide greater support and intervention for Brisbane city’s vulnerable.

Brisbane-based outreach Blind Eye Ministries has been ministering to the city’s homeless, marginalised indigenous and those struggling with unwanted or unplanned pregnancies since 2010.

Blind Eye Ministries co-ordinator Roby Curtis said the drop-in centre would give the outreach “a greater access point” to the city’s poor.

Mr Curtis said between 10 and 35 people would walk through the drop-in centre doors each day.

“In just two months, we’ve been able to reach some people and provide some care and support for them, and are already seeing people going on the path to rehabilitation,” he said.

The outreach also operates as a platform for gentle evangelisation.

“We always keep the door open to faith,” Mr Curtis said.

“At the end of the day we’re most passionate about evangelisation, and being the arms of the Church in the most darkest, deepest pockets of our nation, and our archdiocese.”

Mr Curtis said five men had already been received into the Church, while three more people had expressed an interest in going through the sacramental program for next Easter.

Brisbane man Peter Clark met the Blind Eye Ministries team while recovering from extensive trauma and an 18-year jail sentence.

Mr Clark said the drop-in centre was a dream come true.

“It’s been a dream of mine for 15 years to be involved in a place like this and be involved from the ground up,” he said.

“I wake up every day knowing I’m coming here to live my dream and help people who’ve come from similar backgrounds.”

Blind Eye Ministries chaplain Fr Tony Girvan said the drop-in centre was a gateway to the poor, whom he described as “the treasure of the Church”.

“The real treasure of the Church can be found under the bridges, in the hospitals, in the nursing homes, in the poor and the vulnerable, the addicted,” Fr Girvan said.

“The crucified Christ comes to us in these people, and we are privileged that Christ crucified is in our midst.”

The Blind Eye Ministries drop-in centre is at 19 Merivale Street, South Brisbane, and open from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 3.30pm.

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