Father Emmett Johns “Pops”

Emmett Johns founded Dans la rue in December 1988.

Emmett Johns was born on April 3,1928 to Irish parents and grew up in Saint Agnes Parish on the Plateau Mont-Royal.

After graduating from high school, as the war was ending in 1945, he found that his original dream of becoming an air force pilot was no longer an option, so he followed his other dream and entered the seminary.

Fondé par le Père Emmett Johns « Pops » en 1988, Le Bon Dieu dans la rue vient en aide aux jeunes sans-abri ou en situation précaire.

At the age of 60 and after nearly 40 years as a parish priest, Pops was inspired to reach out to the city’s at-risk youth. “It just kind of came to me,″ Pops says. “I should be with the kids, I should help them.

So in 1988 Pops founded Le Bon Dieu dans la rue. He borrowed $10,000 from the Caisse Pop, bought a used motorhome and took to the streets, working long, sometimes lonely shifts from 9 pm to 3 or 4 am. “I was kind of scared sometimes, driving that big van around downtown late at night.″ But Pops and the Van very quickly became fixtures of Montreal’s nightscape, known to street kids as a safe place to get a bite to eat and warm up. In 1989 Bishop Crowley named Pops “official chaplain of the homeless.”

Dans la rue has grown since its creation in 1988, with the opening of the Bunker overnight shelter and the Chez Pops day centre. Today the organization has a team of 65 employees and over 135 volunteers. The organization’s evolution has always been guided by Pops’ philosophy of dedication, empathy and respect.

“My heart is full of hope for these youth. I know very well that there are limits to what I can do. I can’t save them all. But when I think of Lise, Johnny, Daniel, Molly and so many others, I realize that after every dark and difficult night – even the worst ones – there is a new day and a morning filled with hope.”

Father Emmett Johns

Highlights and honours

2016
• Commander – Ordre de Montréal

2013
• Honorary Member – Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec

2012
• Recipient : Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

2011
• Recipient : Contribution to Humanity Award – Montreal Intercultural Dialogue institute
• Special concert in his honor by the MSO
• Montrealer closest to sainthood – Montreal Mirror ”Best of Montreal readers’ poll”
• Recipient : Prix de la tolérance Paul Gérin-Lajoie – Fondation de la tolérance Paul Gérin-Lajoie

2010
• Montrealer closest to sainthood – Montreal Mirror ”Best of Montreal readers’ poll”

2009
• Montrealer closest to sainthood – Montreal Mirror ”Best of Montreal readers’ poll”
• Most trusted public personality – Magazine Sélection Reader’s Digest

2008
• Biography published “Appelez-moi Pops”
• Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award

2006
• Documentary film on Pop’s life called “Notre Père” launched
• Certificate Honorary Member – Canadian Pediatric Society

2005
• Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causea – Saint Paul University

2004
• Recipient – Reader’s Digest Hero of the Year award
• Carrier of the Olympic Flame

2003
• Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causea – McGill University
• Recipient – Medal of the University of Montreal
• Grand Officer – National Order of Quebec
• Honorary certificate – HEC Montreal / Commerce Magazine
• Prix de la Santé et du Bien-être social – Ordre des psychologues du Québec
• Honorary Doctorate Degree – Université du Québec à Montréal

2002
• Golden Jubilee Medal – Canadian Governers General
• Simon McDonaugh Humanitarian Award – United Irish Societies of Montreal
• Bishop Crowley Award – English Catholic Council
• Great Montrealer – The Academy of Great Montrealers

2001
• The Rights and Freedoms Prize – Commission des Droits de la personne et des droits à la jeunesse

2000
• Communications & Leadership Award from Toastmasters International

1999
• Award of excellence – Montreal Urban Police
• Annual Desjardins Prize
• Member to the Order of Canada

1998
• Humanitarian Award – The Association of Quebec Psychiatrists
• Anne Greenup Citizenship Award

1997
• Honorary Doctorate Degree – Concordia University
• 12th Honor Roll of Excellence – Maclean’s magazine

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