The Pope Francis Build is one way to fulfill the corporal work of mercy to shelter the “homeless.”
The Diocese of Wichita partners with Habitat for Humanity Wichita to help a deserving family buy a home at a minimal cost, said Bonnie Toombs.
“It’s the fulfillment of the American dream – the fulfillment of a dream that for many of the new homeowners would otherwise be unattainable,” she said.
The dream becomes possible through the stewardship of labor by the volunteers, and the stewardship of treasure by the donors, she added.
Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, said initial construction will begin on Aug. 12 at a lot located at 1227 N. Estelle, just a few blocks from Holy Savior Catholic Church.
Volunteers are needed when the hammers start swinging on Aug. 17. Work days for this year’s build will be Thursdays and Fridays from Aug. 17 to Oct. 20.
“We are reaching out to you today to see if you can help either with a donation towards the cost of the build or if you would like to help work on the build,” Toombs said.
One of those who’s dream was fulfilled was Michelle Johnson.
If you see her smiling, it could be that she has just pulled into her driveway.
“I smile every time I pull into the driveway,” she said. “Sometimes I smile so much my kids say she’s just looking at our house.”
Johnson is happy because she now owns her home through the Pope Francis Build. In a telephone interview last week, she said she also smiles because she no longer has a landlord.
“It’s the best feeling ever to have a home,” she said. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”
She is also happy that her children have their own bedrooms and that the house is in a safe neighborhood.
Her participation in the program was truly life-changing, she said, adding that she can never repay all those who helped for what they have done for her and her family.

Want to help shelter the ‘homeless’?
Individuals, families, parishes, work groups and any other interested party may sign up to work the Pope Francis Build 2017. In addition to financial assistance, volunteer groups are still needed for the build.
To volunteer, contact the Respect Life and Social Justice Office at 316-269-3935 or
To donate, visit, or send a check with “Pope Francis Build” in the memo to the Office of Development, 424 N. Broadway, Wichita KS 67202.