Ash Wednesday protest: Repeal Worcester’s anti-panhandling ordinance

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on February 5th, 2013

On Ash Wednesday, February 13, from 1-2 pm, the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker community will sponsor a protest at Lincoln Square in Worcester calling for the repeal of anti-panhandling regulations passed last week. Signs will be held and the attached leaflet will be distributed.

Robert Peters, a long-time practitioner of Buddhist mediation, will wear a monk’s attire and hold a beggar’s bowl.

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, a one-time novice with the Capuchin-Franciscans, will wear a Franciscan habit and also carry a beggar’s bowl.

Robert will be on the sidewalk, while Scott will defy the anti-panhandling ordinance by begging on the median strip. Both of them hope to highlight the sacred place begging and giving to beggars has in all the world’s major religions.

The members of the Catholic Worker community have sent the attached letter to Worcester’s police chief, mayor, and all the city councilors describing their reasons for holding this protest. Any funds collected will be given directly to those who who continue to feel the need to appeal for help on the streets of Worcester. For more information, call Claire Schaeffer-Duffy 508 753-3588.
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Song for Holy Saturday

posted by Mike on April 7th, 2012

Written by James K. Baxter, 1958.

When His tears ran down like blood
I was sleeping in my clothes

When they struck Him with a reed
I cracked a very clever joke

When they gave Him a shirt of blood
I praised the colour of her dress

All the way up the hill
We were laughing fit to kill

When they were driving in the nails
I listened to the steel guitar

When they gave Him gall to drink
We were sipping the same glass

When He cried aloud in pain
We were playing Judases

When the ground began to shake
We pulled up the coverlet

Clean confessed and comforted
To the midnight mass I come

You who died in pain alone
Break my heart break my heart
Deus sine termino.

posted by Mike in Lent | on April 7th, 2012 | Permanent Link to “Song for Holy Saturday” | No Comments »

Holy Week mass schedule, St. Peter’s Parish

posted by Mike on April 1st, 2012

Today begins Holy Week, known to me as “a grand liturgical celebration,” known to many children as “the week we spend too much time in church.”

Here’s the schedule for St. Peter’s & St. Andrew’s in Worcester, which I am posting as much for my own reference as anything else.

Holy Thursday: 7pm mass at St. Peter’s. The big multi-lingual mass. Afterwards, eucharistic adoration at both St. Peter’s and St. Andrew’s, then visiting 7 other churches as a parish.

Good Friday: Separate from the parish, the SS. Francis & Therese Catholic worker will have their annual “contemporary” stations of the cross, gathering at 52 Mason St at 11:30am. “Join us in a walk to reflect on contemporary examples of Christ’s suffering. Soup and bread to follow.”

On the parish level, stations of the cross inside St. Peter’s at noon, followed by outdoor stations beginning at St. Peter’s School at 2pm.

7pm liturgy at St. Andrew’s.

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil mass 7.30pm at St. Peter’s.

Easter Sunday: Regular mass schedule, including 11:30am African mass at St. Andrew’s.

Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule, St Peter’s and St Andrew’s

posted by Mike on February 22nd, 2012

(Posting this because I know someone is going to ask me about this otherwise.)

St Peter’s: 7am, noon, 5:15pm, 6:30pm (Spanish)
St Andrew’s: 9am
Clark: 2:30pm

Lenten crunchtime

posted by Mike on February 21st, 2012

Lent begins tomorrow. I hope you’ve had plenty of time to think about how you’ll spend the most DIY season of the church year.

My plan for Lent 2012:

  • Fasting: I am giving up about a dozen “comforting distractions.” As a vegan, I’ll be giving up soy rather than meat on Fridays.
  • Prayer: I like the idea of using a daily prayer book, but after 30 years of experimenting I haven’t found anything that really clicks for me. Recently I’ve been using Give Us This Day, and that’s what I’ll be using this Lent.
  • Almsgiving: File under MINE OWN BEESWAX.

Some years I gorge on “Lenten resources.” This year, mass, Give Us This Day, and my own community will suffice. Secular Lenten observers might enjoy Jacob Berendes’s Lent essay, and Susan Stabile has a nice roundup of resources for Christians.

posted by Mike in Lent | on February 21st, 2012 | Permanent Link to “Lenten crunchtime” | No Comments »

Holy Week church-hopping and other items

posted by Mike on April 23rd, 2011

The day before Holy Week began, I attended a wedding at St. Columba’s United Reformed Church in Oxford, UK. St. Columba’s is down an alley near some of the Oxford colleges. It’s a normal sort of church inside, with a vestibule and facade that make it look like an office building.

Most churches stand out. St. Columba’s is hidden. Attending church there was like going to a house mass—nobody walking past suspects you’re going to a sacred gathering.

(Best wishes to the bride and groom—your lovely wedding is an auspicious start to your lives together.)
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Lenten update

posted by Mike on April 14th, 2011

So far, so good. Sticking with about 70% of my Lent plans, which is much better than most years.

One unexpected and helpful addition to my Lenten prayer schedule has been Susan Stabile’s series of daily meditations, with a weekly podcast of her remarks to students who are doing this “Lenten retreat in daily life” as well. Worth checking out if you need to jump-start your final week of Lenten prayers.

The best thing I’ve read about Lent this year is a brief essay by Jacob Berendes in his monthly newspaper Mothers News. It’s not at all religious, but it’s funny and a great piece of writing. In exchange for being able to quote me saying “The best thing I’ve read about Lent this year,” Jacob graciously agreed to let me reprint it, below.
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posted by Mike in Heresy, Lent | on April 14th, 2011 | Permanent Link to “Lenten update” | No Comments »

Deacon Colin Novick’s homily, March 27, 2011

posted by Mike on March 29th, 2011

From mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Worcester.

Colin is a friend of this blog, and we’re proud to see him in the pulpit.

Mason Street Musings

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on March 15th, 2011

Originally published in the April/May 2011 issue of The Catholic Radical.

Ding Dong! “Good Grief!” I grumbled as I dragged myself out of bed. “Who the heck could be at our door at 2 a.m.?” I went into our chilly hall to see a young couple on our front porch.

I asked them in and quickly learned that they are musicians from Illinois who were sleeping in their van in a Walmart parking lot until it got too cold.

“Our van died in front of your house,” the husband said gesturing toward a vehicle jutting out at an angle from Mason Court into Mason Street. “We know the Saint Louis Catholic Worker,” he concluded, as if that pretty much told all we needed to know. Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy in Houses of Hospitality, Lent, Worcester | on March 15th, 2011 | Permanent Link to “Mason Street Musings” | No Comments »

Ash Wednesday 2011

posted by Mike on March 9th, 2011

Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.
Joel 2:12-13


Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Many Catholics attend mass today and receive a blessing of ashes on their foreheads.


The liturgical imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday is a sacramental, not a sacrament, and in the Roman Catholic understanding of the term the ashes themselves are also a sacramental.

This morning at St. Peter’s, Msgr. Scollen suggested that we avoid taking on too many Lenten projects, and just focus on one:

We know that if we try to do 10 things, or 5 things, or 3 things, that we’re going to do nothing.

I’m finally at the point in my life where I see the wisdom of this advice, and this Lent I’m trying to be constant rather than ambitious in my practice. For more on sustaining changes in behavior, Leo Babauta has solid advice that’s helped me.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
Matthew 6:16-18


posted by Mike in Lent, Worcester | on March 9th, 2011 | Permanent Link to “Ash Wednesday 2011” | No Comments »