Worcester Catholic Worker community celebrates 30 years on Mason Street

posted by Mike on August 13th, 2016

Today we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Saints Francis and Thérèse Catholic Worker community.

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Folks from far and wide packed the backyard at 52 Mason Street tonight for a mass marking the 30th anniversary of the Saints Francis and Thérèse Catholic Worker community. Mass was celebrated by Father Madden from St. John’s.

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It was fantastic to see so many Central Massachusetts lay Catholic communities represented, as well as so many people from other communities of faith and action.

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A Day of Dorothy Day, March 15, 2016

posted by Mike on March 14th, 2016

There will be a day-long conference on Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement this week at Holy Cross College, in Worcester, Mass.

At 4:30pm at the Rehm Library is a public presentation by Robert Ellsberg and George Horton.

Mr. Ellsberg was managing editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper during the last years of Dorothy Day’s life. As editor-in-chief and publisher at Orbis Books, he’s written extensively about her, and edited books of her diaries and letters.

Mr. Horton is a Holy Cross alum who serves as Catholic Charities New York Director of the Department of Social and Community Development. He is working on Dorothy Day’s sainthood cause on behalf of the New York Archdiocese.

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“Building and Sustaining Nonviolent Communities” at Agape this Saturday

posted by Mike on September 29th, 2015

It’s time for the annual “Saint Francis Day” at the Agape Community in Ware, Massachusetts. This year the centerpiece is a talk on “Building and Sustaining Nonviolent Communities” by the great Mike Baxter.

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Mike Baxter with an axe

Annual St. Francis Day at Agape Community: Saturday, October 3, 2015, 10am-evening * 2062 Greenwich Rd., Ware, MA 01082 * 413-967-9369

Please bring a brown-bag lunch and food to share for dinner.

Mike Baxter’s talk will be at 10:15am.

“Mike Baxter is a professor of Religious Studies at Regis University in Denver, CO. A co-founder of Catholic Worker houses in Phoenix, Arizona and South Bend, Indiana, Mr. Baxter also served as the national secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship.”

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The Pope, To Congress, Namechecks Dorothy Day And The Catholic Worker

posted by Mike on September 24th, 2015

I follow everything Pope Francis does with interest, and so far his trip to the US has been a real treat. But I was not prepared for his address to Congress to include my great hero Dorothy Day as one of four great Americans. Nor was I prepared to hear him name the “Catholic Worker movement” that has so shaped my adult life. Via Rocco Palmo, here’s part of that speech. The mention is brief enough that I’d call it more of a namecheck than anything else.
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Donna will leave Worcester’s Mustard Seed

posted by Mike on May 13th, 2015

Telegram & Gazette:

On June 1, Ms. Domiziano, an unpaid volunteer of nearly 30 years, will finally be leaving. However, her missive came not from God, she says, but a formal letter.

…The organization’s founders had, via a letter delivered by a local pastor, informed her of vital changes to the operation that would drastically limit her autonomy.

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Ron Wehrle, 1936-2014, RIP

posted by Mike on February 28th, 2014

Ron Wehrle, beloved member of Worcester’s Catholic Worker community, passed away on Monday. His funeral was this morning.

For some classic shots of Ron brandishing his cigar, re-watch this lovely video about Worcester’s Catholic Workers:

A Life Worth Living from Doug Rogers on Vimeo.

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“A Life Worth Living”

posted by Mike on June 6th, 2013

A Life Worth Living from Doug Rogers on Vimeo.

Some Worcesterites associated with the Catholic Worker movement.

Happy birthday, Catholic Worker!

posted by Mike on May 1st, 2013

Today in 1933, the first issue of the Catholic Worker newspaper was sold on the streets of New York City. The paper eventually gave its name to the community that was creating it, which blossomed into a decentralized movement now active around the world, performing the works of mercy and opposing the works of war.

At the 75th anniversary gathering (held in Worcester!) many remarked that the CW seemed as vital as it had ever been. On this 80th anniversary, it feels just as lively.

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Image: Rita Corbin.

No arrests in Worcester panhandling civil disobedience

posted by Mike on February 13th, 2013

In an act of civil disobedience against Worcester’s new anti-panhandling ordinances, three Worcester residents today begged for money on the median in Lincoln Square, directly across from police headquarters. The event was held on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which Christians mark with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

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Gordon Davis, a blind anti-discrimination advocate, held a bucket reading BLIND and represented the disabled. Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, a Catholic Worker who has housed the homeless in Worcester for decades, was dressed as St. Francis, himself a beggar. Robert Peters, a long-time Buddhist meditator, dressed in the robes he wears as a lay Buddhist.

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At least four people called the police to complain. According to the supporters demonstrating legally on the nearby sidewalk, the only police response was one officer giving the thumbs-up when he drove by.

In a statement, Chief Gemme said that “Today, between 1 and 2 p.m. there were 21 calls for service throughout the city. None of these calls were regarding panhandling.” (I’m not sure what the difference is between a call for service and these calls. Maybe there were 21 911 issues?)

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None of the beggars was arrested, cited, or warned. “This is a victory for Worcester,” said Schaeffer-Duffy.

Womag has more pix. The T&G reports “$14.68 collected,” all of which will go directly to those in need.

Mason Street Musings

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on August 6th, 2012

From the September 2012 issue of The Catholic Radical. [PDF]. Illustration by Sarah Jeglosky, 1987.

“You are evil!” S. shouted only an hour after he called us “good people.”

In truth, I can’t really blame him. He has a bad temper, especially when he’s drinking, but he’s otherwise a decent person. He came by looking for specific help, which Claire agreed to give to him. While the details were being worked out, he talked at me, effectively slowing down my work on a garden shed behind our house. When I started losing patience, I thought, “S. is Jesus,” but that was a pretty big stretch under the hot sun. Then he told me that he had been writing letters to Jesus. I couldn’t resist asking, “Have you gotten any letters back yet?” Ignoring me, he went on to disparage his family and to praise the Catholic Worker. “They live in a house, but this is a home,” he repeated several times. I feared this was a prelude to a request to move in with us for what must be his ninth or tenth time in twenty years. Read the rest of this entry »