PORTLAND RIOTERS DAMAGE CATHOLIC CHURCH KNOWN FOR OUTREACH TO THE POOR

(CNA) A Catholic church in downtown Portland, Oregon – known for helping the area’s poor – suffered shattered windows during a riot Wednesday night that saw nearly a dozen protestors arrested.

Sometimes known as the “Downtown Chapel,” Saint André Bessette has occupied several locations in the downtown Portland area since 1919. The present location, which the church has occupied since 1971, includes a drop-in center, a kitchen, and showers and washing machines for the homeless.

The protest began as a “Defend Democracy” rally, local news reported as election results were being reported.

According to police, two protest groups met in separate locations Wednesday evening, then marched through Portland. A group of about 100 people moved along West Burnside Street, breaking windows as they moved.

The homeless drop-in shelter at Saint André Bessette has stepped up its efforts to help the poor during the coronavirus pandemic, offering free sack lunches every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Archbishop Alexander Sample has repeatedly called for peace in the city. In July, he encouraged Catholics to learn about and study how to respond to the sin of racism, while at the same time condemning the violence accompanying many of the protests in the city for the past two months.

Tej Francis

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