“I was a stranger and you made me welcome”

“I was a stranger and you made me welcome”  (Matt. 25)

April 2017
Dear Friends,
My wife, Ronnie, has taught in Redwood City’s public elementary schools for the past 20 years.  This January, children in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades came to school crying because they were terrified that their mommy and dad might get deported.  Many parents draft wills and trusts designating an uncle, aunt or close friend to care for their small children in case both parents suddenly die.  Imagine being undocumented parents with small or high school age children who are U.S. citizens.  Imagine worrying about an immigration raid (ICE) that quickly leads to losing your mother and father.  Your children are at pre-school and no one comes to pick them up or your teenage child comes home to an empty house – these are very very real fears today for many of our neighbors.  One family (Ronnie taught their 3rd grader nine years ago) has filled out the papers designating Ronnie and I as the guardian of their three children if they are deported.  What a worry!!!!

Two other families who lived at the Catholic Worker for free for 2 years and 1 year respectively saved $23,000 and $14,000 each. These two very poor families  used all of the money they saved to purchase homes in Mexico in case they lose everything here by being deported.  This is their plan “B”.

Susan Crane has been a live-in Catholic Worker with us for 5 years.  Her compassion is legendary.   She has been going to meetings of Faith in Action to help develop a network of volunteers who would agree to arrive at nearby locations as ICE  conducts a raid.  “RAPID RESPONSE” hopes to get volunteer supporters (citizens) to help undocumented sisters and brothers by arriving within 7 minutes of an immigration raid.  Packets of information have been developed to help immigrants respond safely and legally to a knock at their door from ICE.  These same packets contain forms for parents to designate who will care for their little ones in case of an emergency  as well as a page of “Know Your Rights.”   If you wish to be part of “Rapid Response” or if you know someone who needs a packet of information, call Susan or Larry  (650) 366-4415.

REFUGEES: by Brian Bilston


They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way.     (NOW READ BOTTOM TO TOP)


  1. FOOD  in any amount.
  2. Household needs: laptop computers and electronic stuff for teens, firewood (split), a vacuum cleaner for Aida, carts and re-useable bags for the elderly who line up for food every Friday at the Catholic  Worker,  musical instruments, tools, paper towels, an electric fan, hand soap, Comet, etc.
  3. Transportation: After housing and jobs the next priority is “getting there.” We need bikes, cars, trucks and R.V’s. By the way, San Bruno Catholic Worker is building a second “Tiny House” on wheels and we need a church, business, or home to park it with a sewer hook up.
  4. Teacher Assistants for our English Language School–one night a week, Spanish is not necessary.  Our
    School is growing and now has 120 plus students.   Call Pam (650-365-6019).
  5. A House or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker center. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee. 
  6. Work for day laborers. Call Cesar at (650) 339-2794.
  7. Your ongoing love and support and don’t forget to check out our website:  http://www.rwdcw.wordpress.com

                               Holy Easter,

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

P.S. Mary Jane continues to live at the Presentation Mother House (415) 752-1602. Her address is 2340 Turk Blvd,  S.F. CA. 94118.   She is an angel among us.


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.