Serving as the Executive Director/CEO of St. Christopher’s Inn for the past 15 months, in partnership with Fr. Dennis Polanco, SA, the President & Spiritual Director, as well as the St. Christopher’s Inn staff and all the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement has been a blessing.
Like so many, my life has been personally touched by the opioid epidemic, and I have witnessed first-hand the devastating grief from the loss of a loved one to overdose. The struggle with opioid addiction is real. This disease has claimed too many lives. At St. Christopher’s Inn, our unique model allows us to provide the best opportunity for successful recovery for every Brother Christopher.
Over the past year, it has become very clear that the Inn’s model of providing shelter, food, clothing, primary medical care and spiritual counseling through the hospitality of the Friars, while concurrently providing addiction treatment by professional staff in an OASAS licensed facility, is a model of success. The Brothers Christopher who find hope here, as well as the SCI alumni who return to share their stories of recovery on the Holy Mountain, are proof of this success every day.
During September, which is National Recovery Month, a 25-year SCI Alumnus, Charlie Cifarelli, visited the Inn. This was Charlie’s first time back to the Inn since he left in November, 1993—he has been sober ever since. He was able to share his story with the Staff, the Board of Directors, the Brothers Christopher and to thank the Friars and staff of SCI for saving his life. What a wonderful testament to the ministry of Fr. Paul and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.
To be serving side by side with the Friars and staff of St. Christopher’s Inn, combatting this disease is both a challenge and a privilege as we continue our progress together.