Almost 5 years ago, we started telling the story about Brother Al Mascia. Brother Al could often be found on the corner of Liberty and Vine Street speaking with neighbors of St. Francis Seraph Church.
He, along with Jim Murphy, cofounded the Canticle Café at the same corner. The Canticle Café is a gathering spot for people to get out of the cold in winter and the heat in summer. It is a place to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation with others.
Brother Al was transferred to St. Aloysius Church in downtown Detroit 4 years ago. The Café here in Cincinnati is still open 4 days a week at corner of Liberty and Vine.
Since his move to Detroit, Brother Al started the Canticle Café Detroit across from his church on Washington Boulevard in the heart of the city. Detroit’s version is quite a bit larger and welcomes 300 to 400 neighbors a day, 5 days a week. Baked goods, fresh coffee, clothing and fellowship are in abundance. The café has a chapel, full time nurse, and a director. Brother Al spends much of his time in the neighborhood, often riding a bike even in the coldest months, delivering hot drinks, warm clothing and warm hospitality.
Recently they learned they will not be staying in the current building as the up keep has increased to more than the Church can keep up with. They are working on plans to secure places to make baked goods and coffee, but decided to put the Café on wheels. Brother Al, and hopefully other volunteers, will take the café on 3 wheeled bikes throughout the downtown area.
Brother Al says they will certainly miss the benefits of having a facility but is excited for the possibilities for both the future of the Café and the city it is in.