The Franciscan Friars, in consultation with the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, have opened Franciscans Downtown, 1000 Main St, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
The location, which opened June 1, is designed to be a place of rest for people, and there is no charge to walk in. There are books, magazines, DVDs and VHS tapes that can be checked out. Eventually, the location will host guest speakers, musical performances, discussion groups and movie showings.
Father Placid Stroik, who grew up in the Stevens Point area, came up with the idea after working for 20 years at Covenant House, a homeless center for youths in New York City, run by the Franciscans.
“I wanted to have a place where people, no matter who they are or what they believe, can come and relax and talk to each other,” said Placid, 78 who has been a friar for 60 years. “The idea picked up a little steam, and when I was back here visiting family, we found out this place was available, and here we are.”
Placid said a handful of volunteers staff the location, and he is hoping to find additional workers as well as donations of books and movies. Eventually, he and other organizers will begin fundraising to support the location.