Joyful Missionary Disciples: Yvonne Graves

Yvonne Graves

Parish: St. Moses the Black, Detroit

What does mean to live out the Gospel?

It’s bringing Christ to the people where they are. They are not going to be in the edifices, they are going to be out here in the street, coming to work, going from work, going to the store, picking up their kids, walking the dog. Living the Gospel means going where the people are.

Detroit — Standing next to Detroit’s main artery, Yvonne Graves is holding a simple sign with a simple message: Honk to end violence.

The message is a popular one, with drivers whizzing by the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament honking their horns, giving thumbs up, or screaming “God bless you” as they motor down Woodward Avenue.

“We are here to take back the night, to let the community know they are not alone,” Graves said.

Graves and members of the cathedral and St. Moses the Black parish communities, along with others, were standing, praying and singing on the corner of Woodward and Trowbridge in Detroit on Aug. 20 as part of Take Back the Night, an outing sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministry in which Catholics give witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ on Detroit’s street corners.

Holding signs calling for an end to violence and racism, or simple reminders that God loves them, participants invite people to join them in pray or honk their horns in solidarity in creating a more peaceful world.

“By being here, by showing that we care, we’re creating a ministry of presence,” Graves said. “We’re invited to be evangelists or missionaries who go out, and we don’t do this work only Sundays or only in our buildings. This city is a wonderful place, not just downtown or Midtown, but Detroit is a wonderful place. We need to be in the places where we live and invite the world to be about peace.”

—Dan Meloy