St James Emmaus Ministry

About Us

Road to Emmaus Ministry of Syracuse, Inc., a 501 (C) 3, not for profit organization,  is a dynamic ministry that brings the presence of the Catholic Church to the poor, hungry, isolated, and homeless of the south side and the city of Syracuse, New York.  By providing food, drink, clothing, visiting the sick and burying the dead, Emmaus Ministry puts flesh to the Gospels, in a true “missionary evangelist” spirit – “Taking the Gospel to the Streets.”   With our many ministries we are able to act as disciples bringing unconditional love and hope to those in need.  And, through this love and hope… lives are being transformed!

It all began with a sandwich…

In February 2008, Father John Manno challenged St. James Church to reach beyond its walls and bring the presence of Christ to individuals and families impacted by poverty, drugs, crime and homelessness on the south side of Syracuse.  As an answer to Father Manno’s challenge, the parishioners of St. James used bologna sandwiches as its stepping stone to be of service and bring the love of Christ and the Catholic Church to those in need.  Since then, Emmaus Ministry has reached thousands on the “periphery” in Syracuse, by performing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Learn more about St. James.

On February 23, 2009, Emmaus Ministry brought their first hot meal to the Catholic Charities Men’s Shelter (The OX).  That first trip outside the walls of St. James was pivotal.   A homeless gentleman’s simple question that evening brought clarity to the ministry… “But will you come back?”   Inspired by the Gospel of Luke, Emmaus Ministry parallels the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, where upon recognizing the resurrected Christ in their midst the disciples asked Jesus to, “Stay with us.”  Emmaus Ministry is continually being called to “go and do likewise”, and by doing so, we too recognize Christ in the faces of those we serve.  In 2013, newly elected Pope Francis said, “We must get out of ourselves and go to the periphery.”  And today, in this “Year of Mercy”, Saint James Emmaus Ministry guided by Father Christopher Ballard, proudly meets both Pope Francis’s call and the challenge first put forth in 2008, by continuing with the resounding answer, YES, we will be back!”   

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