Father David Kirk


Father David Kirk, Decades after Dorothy Day recommended he serve the poor in Harlem, Orthodox Father David Kirk died May 23 at Emmaus House, an organization he founded to provide food and shelter for the homeless. He was 72. A funeral service was celebrated for him at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Manhattan May 29. Father Kirk was received into the Orthodox Church in March 2004; before that he had been a Melkite Catholic priest for more than 40 years. He was buried, at his request, near Ms. Day at Resurrection Cemetery on Staten Island. Father Kirk worked with Ms. Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, at the Catholic Worker House before he became a Melkite Catholic priest. After he was ordained in 1963, he planned to start a house to serve the poor on the Lower East Side of the city, but Ms. Day recommended he try Harlem instead. Taking her advice, Father Kirk founded Emmaus House in 1965. He drew inspiration from France's Abbe Pierre, the founder of Emmaus International, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty. Under his direction, Emmaus developed two guesthouses for hospitality, served full meals daily and sent vans to deliver food to the homeless on the streets. Born in Louisville, Miss., he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Alabama and a master's from Columbia University. Before settling in New York, he was active in the civil rights movement in the south. Father Kirk is survived by two sisters, Mary Barrell and Barbara Pace.



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