Stories of the poor


Poverty and illness had forced a couple to live on the streets. Bearing the wounds of rejection by his own family and society, who will care for them?

– Ms Wong’s story

1. See

Observe the facts, know the reality.

2. Judge

Use social analysis and moral values to make judgement about the facts.

3. Act

Plan a realistic and effective strategy to action.

1st Step:


Rejected by his family, a homeless man dies in the care of the church.

An unmarried couple, Mr Tan, 60, and Ms Wong, 45, had been wandering the streets for more than six months. Before they became homeless, Ms Wong worked as a housekeeper at a budget hotel and Mr Tan worked as a security guard in the same hotel. One day Mr Tan caught an infection that caused him to lose his ability to walk, and this cost him his job. Ms Wong had to resign to take care of Mr Tan.

Mr Tan received RM500 in monthly welfare aid from the government but the money was insufficient to pay for their rent and daily expenses. Soon, they had to move out from their rented place and live on the streets. With the money they received from welfare aid, they began to sell tissues and snacks at the bus stop for a living. At night, they slept outside a convenience store.

Mr Tan’s condition became worse: both of his infected legs were covered with wounds and he was in great pain. The couple was treated badly by members of the public, but some kind people took pity on them and offered to clean his wounds. Mr Tan refused to go to the hospital because he was afraid of dying in the hospital bed. Somehow, a few Christians saw and consoled and persuaded him, and finally he agreed to go to the hospital. The doctors amputated both of his legs and he was in hospital for two months because he was very weak.

The Christians prayed for him when he was hospitalized. They overcame many challenges for Mr Tan. As the government hospital had limited beds, he could not stay longer and was asked to leave. When the time came for him to be discharged, they found him a room to rent. With the help of a few benefactors, Ms Wong was able to pay the rental. Mr Tan stayed two weeks in the rented room and then passed away.

In the beginning, his family was reluctant to accept his deceased body but through the power of prayer, he received a decent funeral and his ashes were interred in the temple.

People are pushed to be homeless by unforeseen circumstances – sickness, poverty, addictions, family issues, etc. We are not to judge them. When someone is hungry, our Christian role is to feed them. At times, our help may be limited but we can bring people lots of hope, joy and dignity when we serve them like our own brothers and sisters. By helping others, our own wounds will be also be healed. If no one was willing to help Mr Tan, he would have passed away on the streets, sorrowfully and without dignity.

Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. “Then my favour will shine on you like the morning sun, and your wounds will be quickly healed.

2nd Step:


3rd Step:



Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy. 

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal life.


Make us worthy Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy.

I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor. It was an order.

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.

You and I, we are Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is  because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. 

Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me. 

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Give Alms

  1. Find out where the soup kitchen or drop-in centre for the homeless is (eg Lighthouse).
  2. Volunteer to prepare the food and beverages, feed and interact with the homeless.
  3. Make it your regular program to help feed the hungry after Lent.
  4. Remember to pray for the people you meet.
  1. Find out where the poorest of the poor live, remember to check whether you are allowed to give food to the people there or not. 1.You can get information from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP), Caritas in your parish, your priest or any outreach ministry in your parish.
  2. Through giving food you start interacting with people and build bridges with them which will lead you to hear more of their stories and problems they are facing. Listen to their stories and inform your parish priest about their problems.
  3. Identify the needs and the reasons why they are in poverty together with your group and priest. Create awareness in your parish by inviting your priest to give a special homily about the problem. You are to animate the whole parish community into action if possible. Remember to pray for the poor together as a church.
  4. This should be a project to reach out to the hungry and build bridges with them. Do not let your project stop after Lent but adapt from time to time according to the needs. Pray to discern how should you organise the project together as a church.
  1. Find out which organisation organises Street Walk to feed the homeless in your city. Contact the organisation and coordinate with them for this program. (eg Kawan in Penang island)
  2. Be mindful not to judge and take photos of the street friends. Maintain their dignity. Interact with them and invite them to eat together with you, if possible, and listen to their stories.
  3. Lend an ear and be a listener. You may share Jesus with those who are keen to hear about our faith.
  4. Establish a relationship with them and journey with those who are willing to change. You can work together with other outreach and service groups in your parish or other NGOs to help them. Anjung Singgah is a shelter provider for homeless who wish to change. Do not forget to pray for them.


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