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.

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.


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.



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?)


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 »

Carl Paulson, RIP

posted by Mike on July 2nd, 2012

Carl Paulson, legendary stained glass artist and Catholic Worker, has died.

Carl Paulson
Carl Paulson and Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus at the 2008 Catholic Worker National Gathering in Worcester. Carl was recognized at the event as “the oldest Catholic Worker.”

The obituary below was sent in by Ken Paulson.
Read the rest of this entry »

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, Athlete

posted by Mike on March 11th, 2012

Nice T&G article about Catholic Worker and Pie & Coffee contributor Scott Schaeffer-Duffy’s love affair with running:

He vividly remembers the date — Feb. 11, 2009 — when his mission to fitness began. That April, he ran in the Jay Lyons Memorial 5K and finished in a most-respectable 31 minutes, for a first-timer among the 50-59s. He was in the process of dropping 48 pounds from his 6-foot frame, yet he was now driven to drop his times considerably as well.

The Catholic Radical, Aug/Sept 2011

posted by Mike on July 31st, 2011

A new issue of The Catholic Radical, the oldest continuously-published progressive paper in Worcester, is online (PDF).

Topics include ROTC at Holy Cross, technology, the death of Michael Webster, Obama and militarism, the death of Robert Talib Douglas, mercy, the rule of law, and homelessness in Worcester.

Sue and Bill Frankel-Streit on the cover of “Style” magazine

posted by Mike on May 6th, 2010

Catholic Workers are constantly being profiled, but you gotta love this article, from Richmond’s alt-weekly Style.

An awesome cover and solid writing:

BILL FRANKEL-STREIT and his wife, Sue, did not fight once during their first year of marriage, largely because the state of New York was holding them in separate prisons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Worker Tea Party

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on April 22nd, 2010

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, Julia Skjerli, and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy of the Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, Massachusetts went to the Boston Common where a Tea Party rally addressed by Sarah Palin was held. At the edge of a crowd of about 4,000 Tea Party supporters, the Catholic Workers held signs and distributed almost 500 leaflets. Ken held a sign which read, “A Tea Party the US Needs Now.” It depicted colonists throwing boxes labeled “WAR” into Boston Harbor. Julia held a sign which read, “Cut Government Spending, End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Now.” Scott wore a tri-corner hat and colonial garb. He rang a bell and quoted James Madison and Patrick Henry on the evils of a standing army.

Their leaflet is reprinted below:
Read the rest of this entry »

The Catholic Radical, October/November 2009

posted by Mike on September 27th, 2009

The latest issue of the Catholic Radical, Worcester’s oldest progressive paper and the newsletter of the SS. Francis & Therese Catholic Worker community, is now online as a PDF.

Good articles on anarchism, conscientious objectors, and the Belgian Congo.

Radical priest Carl Kabat profiled in NYT

posted by Mike on September 7th, 2009

Carl Kabat at the 2008 Catholic Worker national gatheringNice profile in today’s New York Times of Fr Carl Kabat, OMI, a Catholic priest with longstanding ties to both the Plowshares and Catholic Worker movements:

At 75 he continues his crusade against nuclear weapons at missile silos across the United States, armed with a hammer and a pair of bolt cutters. He usually wears a clown suit, in homage, he says, to St. Paul’s words: “We are fools for Christ’s sake.”


Subsequent protests led to Father Kabat’s spending more time in prison than out, raising questions about the effectiveness of his approach.

Liz McAlister, who married Philip Berrigan, has an answer. “We live in a culture where we want to measure everything to know how successful things are,” Ms. McAlister said. “It’s beautiful to see people who don’t spend time wondering and worrying about that and are willing to do what they think is right regardless of the consequences.”

Photo: Carl Kabat at the 2008 Catholic Worker National Gathering in Worcester.