Gannon University Celebrates Dedication of St. Joseph House of Faith in Action
Posted: May 18, 2018
A dedication and blessing ceremony was held Friday, May 18 at
1:30 p.m. for the St. Joseph House of Faith in Action on the 400
block of W. Fourth Street in Erie.
This 2,400-square-foot space is a volunteer-built residence that
will be a home base for groups from Gannon University and beyond to
serve in and connect with the Our West Bayfront (OWB)
Visiting groups will utilize the newly dedicated home as a
community-based gathering space for small group activities and
service focused on urban neighborhood revitalization. Activities
may include housing restoration and blight remediation, urban
Alternative Break Service Trips, initiatives of Gannon's Center for
Social Concerns, Campus Ministry and other University programs.
The space will also be home to two Gannon employee residents who
will occupy and be caretakers of the house while providing
hospitality to the visiting groups. The St. Joseph House residents
will work with Marquette Savings Bank while living in the home to
develop a financial plan that will ultimately provide them the
ability to purchase their own homes in the OWB neighborhood.
The St. Joseph House was built by more than 80 Gannon University
and Erie community volunteers and donors who graciously gave their
time, service, in-kind and monetary gifts to assist in the
transformation and completion of this unique home.
"It would not have been possible to make the St. Joseph House of
Faith in Action a reality without the incredible dedication and
service of the too many individuals to name who selflessly
volunteered their time, labor and generosity," said Keith Taylor,
Ph.D., President of Gannon University.
"It was our hope to bring light to the great work and
transformation happening within the Our West Bayfront community,"
said Taylor. "Through the support and generosity shown by all
who've shared their kindness and service to this project, not only
are we here today recognizing that great work, but we are blessing
what will be a symbol of faith in action for the community,
emulating the work of St. Joseph the Builder. We are thankful for
the many volunteers who believed in this vision with us and look
forward to the years of good work it will bring to our
The St. Joseph House of Faith in Action was designed in harmony
with the existing residences of its historic neighborhood. It
features two bedrooms for the permanent residents, three full
bathrooms, an office, large kitchen and an open community room
space to accommodate 12-15 visitors for overnight stays and
Construction of the home began in November 2017 and was
completed in May 2018, during which time volunteers assisted with
all aspects of building the house from installing insulation, to
painting, to constructing the storage shed in the backyard of the
"The building of St. Joseph House has been a truly immersive
experience," said Erika Ramalho, Director of Community and
Government Relations at Gannon University. "Through Gannon's Center
for Social Concerns, we were able to host two, one-week, local
service trips with students at St. Joseph House to help in the
construction and provide service throughout the Our West Bayfront
community. These experiences have provided new perspective on why
so many call this community their home."
Building Systems Inc. (BSI) committed as a partner on the
project, seeing it as an important community outreach. BSI along
with Gannon's Physical Plant Team managed the volunteer build and
led students, employees and members of the broader community in the
construction effort. Funding for the creation of the St. Joseph
House was guaranteed by the Taylor family, and was accompanied by
several in-kind gifts and donations by Gannon and Erie community
"The comradery shown by the many students, faculty, staff,
alumni, community members and donors coming together to construct
this house has been inspiring," said Ramalho. "They are the ones
bringing the vision for St. Joseph House of Faith in Action to
fruition, humbly serving neighbors in the spirit and example of St.
Joseph the Worker while living out the four pillars of its mission:
service, simplicity, community and reflection."