Spiritual Services Across the Federation

Former Homeless Youth

Covenant House exists to serve young people facing homelessness and trafficking and is not religiously affiliated. Although our roots are in the social justice traditions of the Roman Catholic faith, today we receive virtually no funding from the Catholic church.  

Covenant House welcomes all young people regardless of their religious beliefs. Our houses provide safe spaces for youth to tap into their faith as they choose, and no faith practice is mandated. We also appreciate that many of our staff and supporters are driven by their faith or spiritual commitment to embrace our mission in this community where we love and respect one another.  

At our houses, pastoral ministers of different faiths and denominations offer voluntary worship services and supervise programs that encourage dialogue about religious and spiritual growth. All forms of religious practice are welcome as long as they further principles of respect, compassion, and the oneness of humanity.  

Here are a few examples of the diversity of spiritual ministries and practice from across our federation.  

Covenant House California’s Spiritual Ministry 

Covenant House California’s Matthew 25 Project gives residents and alumni an opportunity to engage with people in need in a meaningful way through the distribution of lunches and hygiene items to those living on Skid Row. Throughout each month, youth help prepare bags with water, sandwiches, and socks for the project’s monthly distribution. Youth and alumni also assemble care packages and write cards for young people in foster care to let them know they are not alone. Both of these opportunities to give back continue to be the most meaningful and well-attended activities among our youth. Other community engagement activities include visiting senior care facilities and assisting residents with craft projects. Connecting youth with the community and giving back to others raises their self-esteem as they learn how to make a difference in the world and contribute to something larger than themselves. The entirety of our spiritual ministry program demonstrates to young people that faith, growth, and forgiveness are for everyone, no matter their circumstances. 

Covenant House New Orleans and Spiritual Well-being  

Covenant House New Orleans believes that for young adults to progress and live healthy productive lives, it is important to focus on their holistic wellness as humans, including mind, body, and spirit. We focus on improving and balancing the six dimensions of wellness: social, physical, emotional, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual.   

Spiritual wellness is the process of “experiencing life” while seeking meaning and purpose in human existence. Spirituality allows one to have consistency between values and behaviors. The Covenant House New Orleans mission is imbedded with the teachings of Jesus Christ to provide unconditional love and respect to those whom society has cast away. We have an onsite chapel to provide a safe, quiet space to meditate or pray and also provide transportation for residents seeking to attend spiritual services of all faiths.  

Covenant House New York 

Covenant House New York supports young people with any religious materials they may need or want and provides a designated space where they can pray and enjoy fellowship with like-minded members of their chosen faith. Additionally, we support our youth in finding safe places in the community to worship.   

Covenant House Vancouver  

Covenant House Vancouver offers a vast array of services and support for anyone with spiritual needs and interests. We recognize that “one-size-fits-one” means treating each young person with absolute respect through a holistic approach that equips them with the tools and supports they need — spiritual needs being as important as nutritional, physical, psychological, and other needs — to lift themselves out of homelessness, trauma, and the challenges with which they are confronted. 

Following the one-size-fits-one approach, youth at Covenant House Vancouver are referred to our lead spiritual care practitioner if at any stage of accessing support they share their spiritual path or tradition. Our spiritual care practitioner shares how different spiritual needs can be met through, primarily, the following examples: 

Tangible supports: These might include prayer beads, sacred texts, or other items that young people have lost that are important to their spiritual practice. 

Referrals: Direction to spiritual communities that young people may have lost connections with as a result of traumas they have endured. 

One-on-one sessions: Social workers can refer youth to our lead spiritual care practitioner to talk through religious/spiritual trauma, supernatural/transcendent experiences, finding meaning and purpose, sources of comfort and strength, beliefs, and integration, reinforcing for youth that they are not alone. 

Grief support for death anniversaries of friends or loved ones. 

Coordination of religious holidays and celebrations: The accommodation of spiritual needs to avoid conflicts with programs ensures a young person’s ability to practice. 

“Tea with Kadee”: multiprogram, relationship building, modeling value communication. This was created with the goal of offering support and understanding as and where it is needed.  

Shelter Is Only the Beginning

From crisis to care: Find out what it's like when a young person enters our doors.