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 
White.

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

NEEDS

  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.
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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.