The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
A Church Without Boundaries
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Mission Statement
The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception strives to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a welcoming community of diverse Christians, seeking spiritual growth and providing compassionate outreach.

Calendar of Events

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Archdiocese Annual Catholic Appeal!
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Our Visitors Say
"Renee Renfus and I have made sack lunches for a few years now and have found it to be a great way to donate to the night shelter. We’ve now turned it into an annual sandwich making party for a group of friends and it’s always an enjoyable event that has the added bonus of raising awareness about homelessness."
Ana Allain
"Volunteering at the Night Shelter has been a gift. It is easy to go through life and ignore the homeless. While being an overnight volunteer, I got to know some of the guests’ personal stories. These men are not homeless by choice, as some may be quick to think, but rather by consequence. In these economic times, it could easily have been a relative of mine or even myself. I walked away with a different perspective in that these men are just like you and I. They are people-- someone’s dad, someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s friend wanting to belong to a community and contribute to society. I am grateful to be a part of a parish community that truly lives its faith."
Jerry Arias
"On Wednesday nights, volunteers come to the shelter for the foot clinic in which the volunteers bathe, massage and do pedicures for night shelter guests. The first time I watched this loving service, I was very touched by the reverence and tenderness provided to these homeless men who often walk miles each day in uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes. The guests are treated as Christ was by the woman who washed his feet and as Christ did when he washed his disciples’ feet. The care given these men somehow changes these men AND the volunteers in ways that only God knows."
Nick Danna
"Volunteering for Night Shelter at the Shrine was my first one-on-one experience with homeless men. I came in knowing that I wanted to help others, and I had no idea what to expect so I kept an open mind. My first task was to check the men in, and I had to hold back tears because by knowing their names, the whole experience was that much more personal. I’ve been oblivious to the importance of names until volunteering for the night shelter. As the night went on, I talked with some of the men and learned about their struggles, their lives, and their goals. They helped me break away from my assumptions and stereotypes. It was such a sentimental experience that I came back as much as I could. Even though I didn’t get to come in as much as I wanted, the limited time I got left an immeasurable effect in my life and changed my perspectives. I am looking forward to volunteering again."
Toni Rose Deanon
"My involvement with the night shelter started with a rather selfish motive, but has become for me a way to feel connected to the community. As a parent, I needed a way to show my kids that church was not just about attending mass, going to Sunday school and receiving the sacraments. Volunteering at the shelter was the perfect setting to involve my family in giving to the community and sharing our blessings. As it turns out, I have probably learned as much or more from the men who use the shelter as they have benefited from the service. What have I learned? Love God, love your neighbor.... the stuff we heard in church and learned in Sunday school ... but need to practice. And I seriously need the practice."
Rob Dixon
"Volunteering at the shelter, whether spending the night or preparing dinner, then leaving, has had a big impact on my life. I am in a job situation where I am under employed and currently don’t know if I am going to have a job day to day. I am grateful for the small part time job that I do have. Working at the shelter has helped me to count my blessings and live more positively as my situation could be much, much worse. I have enjoyed the company of our many guests. I just wish that my schedule was not so tight, so that I could do more."
Timothy Griffin
"Our Shrine’s Women’s Group has been involved in making sack lunches for the overnight shelter for two years now. We’ve really enjoyed the experience. Everyone picks what they want to bring whether it’s sandwiches, fruit, a salty, or a sweet. Then we meet at the Shrine’s hall kitchen at 5pm to put the lunches together. It only takes a few minutes and the guests are so appreciative. Everyone has a good time and votes to do it again the next year."
Maureen Hegarty
"Our family made a commitment to serving in the Shrine Night Shelter shortly after we joined the church in 1997. Cooking and serving have always been an important way of showing love, honor, and respect in our household. We consider it a special gift to spend time as a family while making a personal contribution to other members of our community. As our children (now 10 and 8) have grown, they have come to look forward to preparing the meals and to serving dinner (and especially dessert!) to the Night Shelter guests."
Joyce, James Lewis and Family
"Our family has loved serving the guests at the Night Shelter. We may cook and serve a meal, or make sack lunches for the guests to take with them when they leave. The children and I like to go to the store and decide what the guests would like to eat. It’s a wonderful way to get the children involved and get them thinking about what others may need and want. It has been such a blessing to my husband and me to watch our nine-year-old son lead the guests in prayer, or to watch my five-year-old daughter do her best to bring extra helpings of dinner to the guests. My most treasured memory from serving at the Night Shelter was the evening I couldn’t find my son. After a brief search, I found him with a group of other children playing chess with one of the guests. My children ask to serve at the Night Shelter, and they are disappointed if they can’t. Clearly this is a special ministry."
Susan, Mike Lobdell and Family
"Volunteering to cook and serve meals at the night shelter helps me to reconnect with my childhood memories of my parents volunteering at church. I grew up in a small Catholic community in southwest Louisiana and parishioners had to take care of the church, church grounds, rectory and fund raising. My parents were at the church every week-end, helping to do whatever was needed. They also ‘volunteered’ their three daughters to help clean the church, work at annual bazaars, bingo games, and bake sales after Sunday masses. As an adult, especially a Christian adult, I think it is my obligation to help others, when I can. And, cooking a meal once or twice a year is nothing compared to the blessings my family has been given. Every time I volunteer for the shelter I thank my parents for developing a compassionate heart in me. This is one trait I have tried to pass onto my children – compassion."
"I first began serving as an overnight volunteer at the shelter while I was a student at Georgia Tech. I later decided to make the Shrine my parish home, partly because of my experience at the shelter. Interactions with the shelter guests (and those outside the shelter) help to remind me of the many comforts and conveniences of daily life that I might otherwise take for granted. It also helps me to see the homeless as individuals and to get a small glimpse of the challenges and opportunities that they must deal with on a daily basis."
Eddie McCallum
"What I have witnessed while working the Night Shelter at the Shrine, is inspirational to me. I have learned more about the homeless. I have been inspired by watching men, come in the shelter, have a meal, and sleep for the night and then get up and go to work. They have not given up and they realize there are better things ahead, they are working for them."
Chuck Mistler
"The Night Shelter - It’s a gift to both the guests and the volunteers. I must say that we were a little apprehensive the first night we stayed. But we had 2 experienced volunteers to show us the ropes. There was very little work but lots of rewards. We learned the guests are registered and have a reserved place each night. Most of the men have stayed at the Shrine many times and know the routine better than the volunteers. Some of the guests like to visit and others read, play cards, listen to music, or watch TV until lights out at 9:00. It was nice to see how quickly we got acquainted and shared stories. Each person was gracious, well mannered and glad to help some rookie volunteers. We have enjoyed it each time we stayed and look forward to doing it again this year. It just takes a little time but it’s time well spent."
Cheryl & Jim Peavyhouse
"What I remember most is how polite and well mannered the men were. It was an honor to serve them dinner."
Stephen Robbins
"I’ve served dinner at the Night Shelter with the Shrine’s RCIA and Families with Children groups. I’ve learned both openness and humility by the example of the children of both groups. The kids have few preconceived notions and prejudices that adults, myself included, tend to carry. They are open and honest in their interactions with the men staying at the shelter and I’ve learned from them. Once while serving dinner, a friend’s daughter said “It makes me happy to serve dinner”. The joy on her face and in her voice has stayed with me."
Karen Sullivan
"The Night Shelter? I can’t afford that! I’m not rich . . . but I do have some time. Maybe I’ll just volunteer to stay overnight one night. 6 PM to 6 AM shouldn’t be so bad and I won’t be the only volunteer staying overnight. I won’t have to do a whole lot of work, really. The Night Shelter? Yeah, I’m not the richest guy in the world, but that’s OK, because others get together to provide, prepare and serve dinner to everyone, even me! Some of the guests actually set up and cleanup every night. All I have to do is be nice, check ID’s, eat, get some sleep wake up and be nice. In the morning, I’ll feel closer to God, other parishioners and my fellow man. The Night Shelter? Absolutely! I look forward to it! I may not look rich, but God has blessed me with food, clothing, shelter, comfort and even a little money once a month! I’ve made some new friends, connected with others and have felt the presence of the Father, praised the glory of the Son, and witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit, Three in One. And I will do it again soon."
Ken Traina
"We chose to participate in the night shelter as way to show our children how important it is to give to those in need. We’ve made our preparations for food delivery a family, and friends affair, inviting our neighbors and classmates from our children’s school to be part of the experience. Being able to participate as a family has been a great way to not only share God’s word with our children, but more importantly show them those words in action."
The Widener Family

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