December Newsletter 2016

“Jesus stands at the door knocking. In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar,
of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in
every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth
as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes
demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the
Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human
being among us.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “God Is In the Manger”

Christmas 2016

Dear Friends,           

Two thousand years ago in a small village, in an occupied country, a baby was born of an unwed mom and a slightly confused dad.  This Holy Family quickly became undocumented refugees in Egypt.  From these humble beginnings, a band of brothers and sisters arose with the grace of God.  So much has changed since then.

Two thousand years from now, if our species survives threats like climate change and nuclear annihilation, there will be even greater changes than we can imagine.  The arc of history has been and will be toward full equality between men and women.  Mortal enemies of yesterday (France and England,  Japan and the USA, Germany and Poland) are and will become one world.  The arc of history, if we are to survive, must lead to a world without war. (Note: in every war today, 2/3 of all casualties are innocent civilians). 

Feudalism ruled our world from about the 9th to the 15th century.  Primogeniture, surfs, lords, education only for rich male heirs were all common and accepted as the way things were and would be forever.  They are ending. Democracy is new.  Marrying for love is in its infancy. Women’s right to vote is less than a hundred years old.

So much has changed and will change.

The light of Christmas, born in a stable, is an invitation to each and all of us to be on the right side of the arc of history.  Women’s rights, civil rights, a world without war, equality for all with one God – this is our future, if we give ourselves enough time to travel there as brothers and sisters.  For now, in our lives and work, we try to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned and find Christ. (Matt 25)

Have a Holy Christmas,

Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd,
Jan Johanson, Aida Figueroa, Susan Crane,
Doug Herbek and J. Arthur 

P.S. If you believe that the above is pie-in-the-sky, then remember, cannibalism was once an acceptable way to survive.


  1. FOOD in any amount. 
  2. Household needs:  quart size freezer bags, tickets to events, bikes (locks and lights, too), lap top computers, ipods, cars, RV’s, brooms, a power washer, a handy man to fix little things, detergent, cleanser, Pine Sol etc.
  3. Day Laborers: If you need gardeners, haulers carpenters, plumbers, craftsmen or handymen call Cesar or Juan Carlos (650) 339-2794.
  4. Homeless friends need: sleeping bags, blankets, socks, ponchos, long underwear, tents, camping equipment, and warm jackets & sweat shirts.  Call Susan or Doug (650) 366-4415.
  5. A house or money to buy a house. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee. (650) 366-4415.
  6. Your ongoing love and support. This year we are helping 5 college students with  individual $3,000 grants.

November Newsletter 2016

Give thanks to Yahweh, for she is good,
Her love is everlasting!
Give thanks to the God of gods,
His love is everlasting!
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
His love is everlasting.       (Psalm 136)

Dear Friends,
      As Thanksgiving approaches, we bow to our God and to our supporters in deep deep gratitude for all of the gifts that make our lives and work possible.
So much is happening!!!  Susan Crane (who lives and works at our home for teens) and two other supporters (Ed Ehmke and Mary Jane Parrine) are off to North Dakota.  They will stand with our Native American brothers and sisters in solidarity.  They and hundreds of others will non-violently and prayerfully oppose the oil pipeline that threatens sacred burial grounds, towns and waterways, that service millions downstream.  Again and again big oil interests threaten and destroy life.
Erika and her two sons have just moved into our home for children “at risk.”
         The boys are in Hoover School and their mom just got a full time job. They need everything.  With your donations we purchased school uniforms, shoes, jackets, underwear and a few other things.  As soon as mom saves money for car insurance, we’ll find a donated car so she can shuttle the kids to school and herself to a better job.
           Another young woman (a student from Notre Dame University in Belmont) just joined us for the rest of this school year.  She is from the Middle East and had no place to live.  Believe me, it’s complicated!  She joins Marissa (another Notre Dame student).  Marissa used to live with us when she was a little girl and is one of the teens that we have been helping with a $2,000 scholarship.  In addition to 15 academic units, Marissa is also working almost full time.
Aida, Susan and I (Larry) have been at the house for years.  Doug is our newest live-in worker.  A lawyer, a graduate of the Peace Corps, and former monk, and with some experience at other Catholic Worker Houses, Doug comes with loads of talent and history.  God willing, he’ll be here a while too.
In addition to our home on Cassia Street (for children in need) which is totally free, we continue to offer very, very low cost housing to 12 day laborers and six families.  In these residences, the first month is free, December is free, and if you lose your job, then your minimal stipend for room and board is forgiven. This is bad capitalism at work and is the way Christians can treat one another.
Altogether, each night, we help house about 25 people, not counting the campers on our front porch. By the way, after 2 years of working with veterans, we’ve decided that they need “care” and “management” that we can’t provide.  I must say, that when I write this it feels like a defeat.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will adopt over 300 families with food and gifts.  All of our work relies on the grace of God and the Body of Christ, which you all are.

Thank God we are in good hands.
Peace and gratitude,
            Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Mary Jane Floyd, Jan Johanson, J Arthur White,
Aida Figueroa, Susan Crane and Doug Herbek


  1. Food in any amount.
  2. Holiday needs:  gift certificates to Safeway, Target, Old Navy, Payless Shoes,movie passes (Cinemark), and unwrapped gifts for children and adults including the homeless, and men & women in convalescent care, etc.
  3. Household needs:  garbage bags. laptop computers  (for high school and college age children), plant food and soil additive for our garden, tickets to events, toilet cleanser,  combs and brushes, electronic gadgets for out teens, and any vehicles (cars,  trucks, vans, or RV’s.)
  4. A house or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker center. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee.
  5. Teachers for our English Language School. Call Pam 365-6019.
  6. Tutors for our afterschool tutoring program. Call Sr. Mary Jane (650) 366-8315.
  7. Your ongoing love and support.

Education: A Priority of the Catholic Worker …Sept. 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends,
For over 40 years the Redwood City Catholic Worker has had two major priorities – HOUSING AND EDUCATION.
    Most of you are familiar with our home for troubled teens.  Almost all of the hundreds of teens who have lived with us were required to go to high school or college (every day and every class) and get “C” grades or better.  The majority of our teens eventually graduated from H.S. and many went on to college. We believe that today education is a prerequisite for life.
    For over 25 years, our English Language School (also here in Redwood City) has helped women learn English.  At our school, 15 volunteer teachers help 45-55 adult women learn to speak English.  In the afternoons, another group of volunteer tutors help children with homework and reading and math skills.
    Last year we helped 7 teens with college scholarship grants of $2,000 each. Six of them did very well and one dropped out.  For the past 10 years we have annually funded school scholarships to Tanzania for children and adults.  At one time, there were 44 scholarships there.  This program is called “The Mission” and was started by a local group of women and their families.  The organizers of “The Mission” travel to Africa (on their own dime) every year to interview the recipients of these grants before, during and after their schooling.
    For the past two years, we have helped raise “seed money” ($10,000 a year) for an exciting Summer School program in San Francisco’s inner city.  To qualify for this innovative program a student (mostly minorities) must have major academic problems at their H.S. (June Jordan)  The teachers for this program are hand picked.  At the culmination of their educational experience, the teens must give oral presentations to their classmates and to the people who helped fund their rescue schooling. When I attended their presentations, their tearful descriptions of being raped, being impoverished and homeless while going to high school and their joy and hope at finding teachers who cared, was overwhelming.

Chaplain Lyn's car is full of backpacks and hygiene supplies.

Chaplain Lyn’s car is full of backpacks and hygiene supplies.

 By the way, for over 30 years we have supplied 75 to 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to children.

Veteran's Chaplain Lyn Juckniess brings backpacks for children and adults.

 Chaplain Lyn Juckniess brings backpacks for children and adults. 

    In addition to these regular commitments, we have also been able to facilitate the donation of truckloads of business furniture (chairs, desks, tables,  filing cabinets, paper products, etc) to Notre Dame High School, Our Lady of Mt Carmel School, St. Matthias Preschool, Roy Cloud Elementary School,  Woodside High School, Sequoia High School and miscellaneous other schools.  The source of most of these donations is none other than the famous Brother Robert (retired).  It was his contact that donated 4 pallets of new cases of paper.  That paper went everywhere. God is good.
    So, to say it again, at the Redwood City Catholic Worker, we are heavily committed to HOUSING AND EDUCATION.  We thank God for the grace to do this work and we thank you, our supporters, for helping us help.

Larry Purcell for all of us.
Sept. 2016


  1. Household needs:  Food in any amount. Garbage bags, pots and pans, laptop computers, electronic stuff, tickets to events, DVD’s for the movie library at the Catholic Worker,  ipads or other electronic stuff,  Kleenex, toiletries, etc.

       2.   Transportation:  Bikes, locks, helmets, cars, trucks, RV’s,.  After housing,  transportation is the number 1 need. Call Susan (650) 366-4415

      3. Money for education: college scholarships ($2,000 each)  To fun our English Language School for one year, the cost is  $12,000. In January we hope to send our final subsidy to Africa ($5,000).

     4. The kitchen floor at the Catholic Worker House for teens is developing holes; we need new linoleum.

     5. A house or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker Center. Call Larry  (650) 366-4415. I’ll give you a free cup of coffee.

  1. Teachers & tutors for our English Language School. Call Pam (650) 365-6019 for teachers and Mary Jane (650) 366-8315 for tutors.

Non-violent Resistance to War

Call Susan  or Larry for details (650) 366-4415 

Sunday Sept 18th 9:30am at Santa Clara University we will protest ROTC. Join the Bay Area Pacific Life Community in witnessing to nonviolence by challenging Santa Clara University to teach peace and end their ROTC program.  We will vigil outside the Santa Clara Mission Church on 9/18 before and after the 10am mass.  We will gather at 9:30am at the corner of Franklin St. and Alviso St. in Santa Clara.

Friday Sept 23rd 12 Noon at Lockheed in Sunnyvale to protest first strike nuclear weapons that are made right there.

Oct. 14th 11:45 am at Santa Clara University to again protest ROTC

English Language School report: May 2016 Newsletter

“I thank my God whenever I think of you; and every time I pray for all of you, I pray with Joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the first day you heard it right up to the present….You have a permanent place in my heart, and God knows how much I miss you all…My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more…so that you can always recognize what is best.”  (Philippians 1)

May 2016
Dear Friends, 

The English Language School of the Catholic Worker House has been teaching English to adult women & men and tutoring children for over 20 years.  At lest 15 volunteer teachers and a separate group of 15 tutors  have shared their talents with the poor and they have become one of our most important works.

The following is written by Sr. Mary Jane Floyd who has been a teacher for over 65 years.  Sr. Mary Jane and a group of about 5 other women organize the registration, teaching, tutoring and everything else that happens at our English Language School.

“Do You Remember Me?”

Last week a young woman and her mother came to the front door of our English Language School where I live.  The young woman said to me, “Do you remember me?” Well, honestly I didn’t so I asked her to refresh my memory.  What a wonderful surprise when she responded, “I’m Giovanna. You tutored me, my two sisters and my little brother.”  Then it all came rushing back to me.  Giovanna is now graduating from Cal Berkeley and going on to higher education.  Her brother and sisters are also doing very well.  Carmen, their mother, was inspirational.  Every day after regular school she gathered up her children and brought them to the schoolhouse (we call it Joan’s House) for tutoring.  She was so grateful for the help her children got because she had been unable to help them.  English was hard for her and her own education was minimal.

They were in the neighborhood that day and Giovanna wondered if I, Mary Jane, were still around! By the grace of God I am!  The house hadn’t changed much and I invited them back to the big room filled with children and tutors working together to do homework.  In the midst of tears, Giovanna recognized her tutors Sid, Joe, and JoAnne. They had helped her and she called out their names.  She thanked them and a few more tears were shed – all tears of happiness.  It was a beautiful thing.

Each afternoon a different group of tutors come and they would all have been happy to see this young woman too.  John Brey retired from tutoring last year.  He began volunteering with us some twenty years ago and would have been proud, as would the many other tutors who have helped this family and so many many other children.  It is a beautiful thing to see our tutors in a huddle discussing some math problem.  It is a beautiful thing to see other tutors bringing books home to “catch up” to better teach our children.  Our tutors, each and all, have touched the lives of our children in special ways.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to see tutors showing kindergarten students how to read and running their fingers along with the child as they sound out the words.

This newsletter gives me the opportunity to mention the selfless work of our teachers who teach English to women and men at night.  A wonderful community has happened and that too is a beautiful thing.

There are those donors who on a regular basis bring rice and beans or who bring school supplies or make donations of books to be used so that no one has to pay anything at our school.  So many of you help from the goodness of your hearts.  It truly is a beautiful thing.

Do we still need teachers and tutors? Yes,  and we always will because no computer or other technological invention can take the place of the human, loving touch which is the most beautiful thing.


Sr. Mary Jane Floyd for all of us.


  1. FOOD in any amount.
  2. Household needs: shampoo and razors for hygiene kits, gallon size zip-lock freezer bags,  bikes, locks and lights for bikes, sleeping bags, a trunk bike rack, large garbage bags, backpacks for Sept. when school starts, and detergent.
  3. Cars, bikes, RVs, trailers, trucks (3/4 ton pick up is needed).

     4.    We have some major work to be done on our home for Day Laborers. We  need a volunteer contractor or carpenter. Call Larry 650-366-4415. 

     5.  A house or money to buy a house for another Catholic Worker center.

      6. Check out for current stuff on us.

       7.  Your ongoing love and support.  Again this year we will offer scholarships of up to $2,000 to  individual college students.
If you can, help call Larry (650) 366-4415.

March 2016 Newsletter: Secret Human Radiation Experiments

“God will wield authority over many nations; they will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war. Everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree, with no one to trouble them. The mouth of Yahweh Sabaoth has spoken it.” (The prophet Micah Chapter 4).

Lent 2016
Dear Friends,

Steph Curry practices his long range bombs from half court to be ready. The United States of America practices firing long range ballistic missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, in order to make sure they are ready. These missiles are like the ones built at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California. They can also fly 4,000 miles into outer space and back to earth in 20 minutes and then hit a target within 300 feet. What a shot!!! Each long range missile can carry between 8 and 12 separately targeted nuclear warheads that will annihilate all life wherever they land.

Marshall Islanders speak about being radiated by the US.

Marshall Islanders Julian, Elinora and Sholla Riklon speak to the Pacific Life Community about the US bombing and radiation of their land and water, the radiation sickness endured by their family and Marshall Islanders, and the way the US secretly used their land and people to experiment about radiation. On the left, film maker Adam Horowitz, who produced Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1

For many decades the USA has practiced firing long range missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California and aimed them at the MARSHAL ISLANDS, well beyond Hawaii – 4,000 miles away. These unarmed missiles had depleted uranium as part of their nosecone. Prior to our more recent test missiles, the USA exploded 67 live nuclear bombs on the Marshall Islands between 1948 and 1956. These bombs were many times more explosive than those dropped on Hiroshima. One of them was 1,000 times more powerful than Hiroshima’s bomb. Our brothers and sisters from the Marshall Islands have been radiated; they have been made homeless; they have been impoverished; and they have been used as subjects of medical studies (Project 4.1) on the effects of radiation on human beings.

In early March, the Pacific Life Community held a retreat to educate ourselves about our family in the Marshall Islands. It shocked me. The Marshallese we met remember above ground nuclear bombs exploding and contaminating their lives and killing parts of our family. The radiation from these above ground explosions and the many subsequent tests genetically changed generations of their children and destroyed their homeland.

We watched the movie NUCLEAR SAVAGE: THE ISLANDS OF SECRET PROJECT 4.1. We viewed pictures of deformed newborns (with heads 3 times the normal size). We saw young girls with legs that dangled limply. We heard mothers describe giving birth to “jelly babies.” Seeing these innocent victims was a nightmare but it does not compare with living through it with your precious family. (see trailer to movie)

This Lent, as we stop eating candy or having a drink (except on St. Patrick’s Day) or as we pray on Good Friday, I hope we will remember these current victims of today’s nuclear weapons and ask God to forgive us our trespasses.

“What is good has been explained to you; this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” (The prophet Micah Chap.6)

Have a Holy Lent,

Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd, Jan Johanson, Aida Figueroa,
J Arthur White and Susan Crane.


1. FOOD in any amount.
2. HOUSEHOLD NEEDS: toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, garbage bags, brooms, a shed for outside storage, laundry detergent, soap, toothpaste, candles, musical instruments, camping equipment for the homeless (tents, stoves, sleeping bags, tarps, ponchos), socks, back packs, etc. If you have questions about camping needs, call Susan (650) 366-4415.
3. DAY LABORERS: If you need gardeners, haulers, carpenters, plumbers, craftsmen or handymen call Cesar or Juan Carlos (day labor organizers) (650) 339-2794
4. A HOUSE or money to buy a house for another Catholic Worker Center. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee. (650) 366-4415.
5. BIKES and locks and other forms of transportation for the working poor. We can use cars, trucks, RV’s etc.
6. Your ongoing LOVE AND SUPPORT.


February 2016 Newsletter

                        “You are God’s chosen ones, his saints; God loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another, forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you  must do the same. Over all of these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love…Always be thankful.”   Colossians 3

Lent 2016

Dear friends,

Your Federal Tax Dollars

Click on image to enlarge, or go here to the War Resister’s League page about Where our Federal Income Tax Really Goes.

Political speeches fill the airwaves. While listening to the President deliver the State of the Union, he actually bragged about how good it is that the USA spends more on military spending (he said “defense”) than the next 8 countries combined. Meanwhile the GOP debates included a litany of our enemies and how we are going to blow them to smithereens. The Democratic debates were filled with expensive promises that won’t be possible if we continue to squander our wealth on war and upgrading our nuclear arsenal.

In the shadow of “Government speak,” our life of feeding, sheltering, educating, clothing and befriending the poor makes more and more sense. At the Catholic Worker we try to be “kind” and “patient” and understanding of the poor because we know that it is freezing outside. We see how hard it is to be hungry and how painful it is not to have enough for your children. We know first hand the difference between living in Atherton and Silicon Valley and living on the streets. The massive gap between those at the top (1%) and the rest of us grows by leaps and bounds every month. In the words of Dorothy Day, Catholic Workers must “ask forgiveness from the poor for the bread we give them.” We ask for forgiveness daily.

The homeless that we all see in doorways and tents should remind us that there are millions of our BROTHERS AND SISTERS on the move in Europe; and they are running from war. They are leaving all in the middle of winter and are so desperate that they cross the raging waters with their families. The children and the elderly seem to risk the most. God forgive us if few lack compassion.

As the weeks of Lent progress, we will hear calls for repentance for our sins. Our Lenten prayer will be that our God will continue to call us to believe the truth that we are all one family– the Body of Christ. The answer is LOVE.

“If I have all the eloquence of men and women, or of angels but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.”        1 Corinthians

Have a holy Lent,

Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd,
Jan Johanson, Aida Figueroa, Susan Crane,
and J. Arthur White.

P.S. Will you be our Valentine?


1. Food in any amount.

2.Household needs: a storage shed (large), vacuum cleaner, reusable shopping bags, shopping baskets with wheels, laundry detergent (unscented), toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, can openers, a large suit case, Kleenex, large garbage bags etc.

3. Transportation: Bikes, locks, lights, cars, trucks, RV’s.

4. Homeless needs: sleeping bags, warm jackets, tents, sleeping pads, socks, tarps and other camping equipment. Call Susan at (650) 366-4415

5. Day Laborers: If you need a great worker (carpenter, plumber, handyman, painter, hauler, gardener, etc) then call the Day Laborer hiring program at (650) 339-2794.

6. A house or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee. (650) 366-4415.

7. Your ongoing love and support.











The Holy Family Did Not Have Papers: December 2015 Newsletter

“After they (wise men from the East) left, the angel of the Lord
appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child
and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt’….”  (Matt. 2:13)

Dear friends,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Christmas 2015

The Holy Family, undocumented immigrants, ran for their lives across the border into Egypt – the empire that had enslaved their ancestors.

The picture of a small child, fully clothed, face down and dead, in the sea that kisses Egypt haunts me.  The child still has his shoes and socks on and is neatly dressed, deeply loved.  He could have been ours.  He is ours.  He could have been the baby Jesus.  He is part of the Body of Christ.

The sound of dissent today includes suicide bombers, drones with cruise missiles, and heavily armed armies on the march. Caught in the midst of unspeakable violence are millions of ordinary men, women and children of many faiths – all running for their lives. They are leaving everything to escape violence.  The Jews did this during WWII and they were joined by millions of Italians, Germans, Poles, Russians and others.  Ordinary people – on the move – are the body of Christ fleeing violence.  They are the People of God crossing the desert.

This Christmas, in addition to figuring out what we will buy for our loves, we (as a country) need to decide if we are going to welcome the stranger, house the homeless, open the door when there is a knock, and see Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters.

Catholic Worker Houses are known for opening our doors to the homeless – we do not require papers.  We do not need proof of citizenship since we believe that we are all one family, with one God, living on Earth our common home.  During Mass on Sundays, we sing “All Are Welcome;” and during the week we try to live that at the Catholic Worker.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may God’s light shine on the families of the world as we welcome them to our part of Earth.  As we celebrate Christmas with gifts, may Peace find a home on Earth as we struggle to end the violence. Christmas is a time for children, for life, for joy.  May God bless the children of the world.


Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges,
Mary Jane Floyd, Jan Johanson,
Aida Figueroa, Susan Crane,
J. Arthur White.


  1. Food in any amount.

     2.  Household needs:  Kleenex, candles, garbage bags, laundry detergent, musical instruments (a guitar or keyboard & amplifier), sleeping bags, tarps, tents, ponchos and socks for
homeless, CD players, shampoo & conditioner, toiletries etc.

      3.  English Language School and Tutoring programs:  We need tutors in the afternoons. You would be helping young children with homework.
           Call Sr. Mary Jane at (650) 366-8315. By the way, we are so glad that Mary Jane is back in Redwood City with us. God is good.

      4. Day Laborers:  If you need gardeners, haulers, carpenters, plumbers, craftsmen, or handymen, call Cesar or Juan Carlos (day laborer organizers) and they will find just the worker for you.                 Call (650) 339-2794.

      5. Transportation: After housing and food, the next priority for the poor is transportation.  We need bikes, bike lights & locks, cars, trucks, vans, and mobile homes.
Call Susan or Larry at (650) 366-4415.

      6. A home or money to buy a home for a new Catholic Worker Center.  Call Larry for a free cup of coffee.  (650) 366-4415. 

       7.  Your ongoing love and support.