by Sean Quinn, Archdiocese of Newark
Jersey City, N.J. – The Archdiocese of Newark’s Respect Life Office will open a second location of The Mercy House — its resource and referral center that provides a wide variety of assistance to all in need — at 20 Greenville Avenue in Jersey City on Monday, December 5, at 11 a.m.
All are invited to the grand opening celebration, which will feature a tour of the facility and a blessing from Auxiliary Bishop Gregory J. Studerus, who oversees Hudson County for the Archdiocese. Jersey City Councilwoman Denise Ridley will also visit. And Mercy House staff and volunteers will begin serving everyone who visits the site until it closes at 4 p.m.
“We’re excited about being in Jersey City, and everyone from the community has been very welcoming so far,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Respect Life Office and The Mercy House. “There’s a lot of need in the world today, so we’re looking forward to being there for the people who could use some help.”
Much like the original Newark Mercy House, the Jersey City location will provide nonperishable food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing to all who request assistance. The resource and referral center will be open every Monday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with special events like a Christmas toy giveaway expected throughout the year. Additionally, the Mercy House staff will continue operating the existing Class C boarding house upstairs, with paying tenants receiving three meals per day.
Jersey City’s Mercy House is the next step in the Archdiocese’s goal of opening a resource and referral center in each of the four counties it serves — Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union. It came about after Father Joseph Furnaguera of St. Paul the Apostle Church offered the parish-owned Greenville Avenue property to the Respect Life Office, which quickly converted several of the building’s first floor rooms into storage spaces for the essentials it distributes. Now that the center is finished, the new Mercy House will aim to bring Jesus’ teachings to life in Hudson County.
“The Mercy House embodies the Catholic Church’s mission — we’re helping the poor and the vulnerable and the homeless,” Riley said. “Whether it’s providing them with a warm coat or supplying a package of diapers for their baby, we’re out in the trenches giving people what they need. At the same time, we’re bringing them to Christ and letting them know the Church is always there for them.”