Fr. Michael Bechard

Audio file

Executive Director, Northern Bridge Community Partnership

Chaplain, Ark Aid Street Mission

As a diocesan priest in London, Ontario for almost thirty years, Fr. Michael Bechard has overseen a variety of ministries: Director of Campus Ministry, Director of Liturgy for the diocese, Parish Pastor.  But Michael has always had a particular heart for those struggling with homelessness.  As someone who has dealt with addiction to alcohol and prescription medications in his own life, he has an intimate understanding of the root causes that so often lead to homelessness and a passion to help those on the margins access mental health and addiction services. 

Fr. Michael Bechard is currently chaplain at Ark Aid Street Mission—an ecumenical outreach to those facing homelessness in London.  He is also the founder and executive director of Northern Bridge Community Partnership—building lasting relationships between young people from southern Ontario with youth from the Dene communities in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories.  During Pope Francis’ conciliatory visit to Canada in Summer 2022, Michael became a familiar face on hundreds of thousands of television sets across the nation helping add context and commentary throughout the pope’s stay.

Our interview in Fall 2022 while Fr. Michael was still deeply engaged in parish pastoring reveals the tensions those in power often face about where to be giving their attention when there are so many people in need all at the same time.  Where do good boundaries lie? How does one wrestle with experiences of power and powerlessness simultaneously?