This article reports on the New York research, begun in 2002, that has evaluated Catholic social outreach projects in the light of Baart’s ﬁndings. Two New York projects in particular – one a residence for prisoners and the other a ‘house of hospitality’ – have been the focus of extensive inquiry. Study of these empirical examples raises questions for Baart’s presence theory. Given that both projects ground their presence practice in explicit religious motivations, one wonders whether the role of motivational ideology remains underexplored in Baart’s theory. Another question for Baart’s theory suggested by the ﬁndings concerns the ‘household model’ of presence practice that both projects show. Baart’s theory does not give attention to the presence practice of projects that have conscientiously constructed familial-domestic environments. At the same time, Baart’s theory also raises certain questions for the projects studied. In the case of the outreach to prisoners, the question is to what degree presence can be practiced in a sanctioning program.