Saturday, February 5, 2022
Music City Center
Honoring Father Charles Strobel '61
Safe at Home
Our 2022 Legacy Gala Honoree has always embraced the power of home.

That was because for Father Charles Strobel ’61, home was everywhere he turned. 

From the front porch of the Strobel family home in North Nashville, in the heart of Germantown, he could turn right and walk the 100 yards to Assumption School for class or to serve Mass on Sunday. To the left of that porch and four blocks east sat another home for this lifelong New York Yankee fan…Sulphur Dell, home to the Vols and the Nashville Stars and a summertime beacon for a baseball lover like Charles.  And in 1957, Father Ryan High School became his newest home, a place that molded him and inspired him to be a living experience of the Gospel.

Through these environments and their formative experiences, Father Strobel made serving the less fortunate, the homeless, his mission.  He started the ministry that would become Room In The Inn in 1985 to serve the basic overnight housing needs of the area’s homeless population during the winter.  Today, the shelter program engages thousands of volunteers throughout Middle Tennessee to offer hospitality and hope to those who call the streets home.   As Father Strobel  says, “when someone experiences hospitality and safety and a feeling of belonging, they experience sanctuary.” 
For his commitment to serving all in our community, for the example of his faith, and for the love he continues to provide to everyone he meets, Father Ryan High School is proud to have Father Charles F. Strobel ’61 as the 2022 Legacy Gala Honoree.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Peanut Butter Sandwich
Charles was ordained at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in 1970, served and taught in Knoxville for a number of years, was associate pastor at Holy Rosary Church in Nashville, and became pastor of Holy Name in 1983. In 1985, his home family grew. “It was a cold winter night and I was sitting in my living room at Holy Name,” Father Strobel remembers.  “I looked out at the park across the street and saw numerous men and women huddled up against the cold. I knew I had a warm gym and a warm hall, and both were empty. So I opened the door, went to the park and invited them in.”
From that simple act of kindness, Room In The Inn began. It grew quickly, with congregations responding to Father Strobel’s invitation to provide sanctuary during the winter, hearing his message to “never underestimate the power of a peanut butter sandwich,” the sandwich that he fed to every guest he greeted. Room In The Inn now provides a range of services for individuals in the community who are dealing with homelessness. These include winter housing, education and workforce development, recuperative services, transitional and permanent housing, and other support. The Room In The Inn model has been replicated in over 30 other cities in the U.S. and Canada.

"When someone experiences hospitality and safety and a feeling of belonging, they experience sanctuary."
What is gratifying to Father Strobel is the outpouring of support and the commitment of time that so many volunteers have provided, particularly from Father Ryan High School, which adopted Room In The Inn early on and still hosts guests every Christmas Eve.  To Charles, it’s a continuation of the school’s mission. 

“Father Ryan was and continues to be an influential force in my life,” Father Strobel said.  “From the leadership and example of the faculty and staff there, to the friendships that I formed, to the spirit of service and faith that is ever-present, Father Ryan High School has shaped me and provided me the example of love for all of God’s children. Through its students and teachers, who are regular and eager volunteers, this school has provided life for Room In The Inn and its many guests.   I am honored to be part of this celebration and look forward to celebrating this outstanding school.”

Gala 2022: Room In The Inn

Charles Strobel's Remarks

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