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

NEEDS

  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.

September 2015 Newsletter

“I shall make a covenant of peace with them…they
will feel safe on their own farm….I shall gather them
together from everywhere and bring them home to
their own soil.”  (Ez. 34:25,27 and Ez. 37: 21-22)

September  2015
Dear Friends, 

Our work with the poor in San Mateo County has been going on for 40 years – thanks to God and your ongoing support. Since the beginning, two priorities have always been at the heart of our work as Catholic Workers: HOUSING AND EDUCATION.

Initially, our housing consisted of living with 4 or 5 troubled teens and our commitment to education was immediate.  In order for any teen to continue to live with us for free, they had to go to school (every day and every class) and get “C’s” or better.  A few of our teens (Alexandra, America, Mila, Alberto, etc) received almost straight “A’s” and went on to 4 year colleges.

Forty years later, we now house (in Redwood City alone) 29 or more guests each night.  In addition to our home for teens at risk, we have two residences for women & children, two for Vets and two for day laborers.  As we have expanded hospitality, we have also expanded our commitment to education.  Our English Language School has been a neighborhood service for 45 to 60 adult women for almost 25 years and our after school tutoring program for small children has operated for that same time. Now, due to your fantastic generosity, this year alone, we have given $2,000 college grants to 7 teens.

Years ago, with the help of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (i.e. Bill Somerville & company), we arranged for America, one of our teens, to receive a full 4 year scholarship to St. Mary’s College.  For lots of reasons, that dream didn’t work out for America.  However, some years later, she did graduate from San Jose State University with a degree in Engineering.

At the Catholic Worker House, we try to help our teens and guests to dream and we help them build their dreams one day at a time.

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

Great Books about the Catholic Worker

The Good Samaritan can be considered a sequel to Jeff Dietrich’s book, Broken and Shared. The essays in both books were first published in the L.A. Catholic Worker’s newspaper, Catholic Agitator, as well as National Catholic Reporter and the Los Angeles Times over a period of more than 40 years.  These books confirm what many of us have known for years: Jeff Dietrich is the best writer of our generation of Catholic Workers.”  This book review by Frank Cordaro, also a Catholic Worker, reflects my sentiments exactly.  The Los Angeles Catholic Worker has been the boot camp for many, many Catholic Workers for well over 40 years. Their work with the extremely poor in East L.A. is legendary and makes sense out of everyday life and the gospels.  I highly recommend these books which capture so much of the spirit of our lives.
                                      Love, Larry

NEEDS

Food in any amount.

Household needs: paper towels, large and small garbage bags, heavy duty grocery bags or food carts, back packs, socks, bikes, sleeping bags, a scooter for one of our little ones (7 years old), tents and tarps for outdoor living, and condiments.

Jobs: for day laborers call Cesar or Juan Carlos at (650) 339-2794.  We are also trying to help Veronica (hearing impaired) find work. For details, call Susan at (650) 366-4415. Veronica lives at one of our apartments for women and children.

Mayra gave birth, at our home for teens, to a beautiful baby boy (Alexi) and she needs infant stuff—he is one month old….diapers, wipes, food (Gift certificates to Target are excellent).

A house or money to buy a house for another Catholic Worker in our area. For a free cup of coffee and details, call Larry (650) 366-4415.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas we give out gift certificates to Safeway instead of fresh turkeys (which are hard to handle).

Your ongoing love and support.