Left: Andrew and Pope Francis at the Faith Formation Conference. Center: Everybody else at
Christmas in the Park. Right: Coco doing what he does best: lounging.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Casa de Clara!
As we look back over our year, we are grateful for all that has come to be at Casa de Clara, thanks to your support and the grace of God. Our house of hospitality for women and children will enter its 40th year in 2017. We are grateful for the work of so many who came before us who built up this ministry. In particular, we give thanks for Norma and Peter who began this work in 1977, and for Sister Teresita, who ran this house for thirteen years until the early 2000’s. The holidays are a fun time at Casa de Clara, with our seven-foot Christmas tree and the stockings that line our bookshelves, outings to the Nutcracker and to Christmas in the Park, and special holiday meals prepared with love.
Our newest venture, a mobile shower program for our friends living on the streets, is in full swing. Last Winter, Andrew visited similar programs throughout California, and has spearheaded our efforts to start our own. Thanks to your generosity, we raised the money we needed in a few short months in the Spring, and we were operational by September. We currently run our shower program twice a week – on Wednesdays at the community center next door (where we’ve had as many as 42 come in a day for a hot shower!), and on Sundays at a nearby encampment. We look forward to expanding our shower program in the year ahead.
The twice weekly food distribution program that we operate in partnership with St. Francis of Assisi parish and a local Methodist Church has grown to encompass over 80 needy families in the neighborhood. Most of the recipients are housed, but pay such a large percentage of their income in rent that little is left over for food.
Throughout the day, men and women from the street come to us for a hot meal or a blanket, to use the phone or to check their mail, or simply to say hello. This is our door ministry, and we are grateful for the opportunity to offer some small comfort to those facing the harsh reality of homelessness.
Wars, we know, are a major cause of homelessness both here and abroad, and so we continue our peacemaking efforts. The hundreds of billions of dollars spent on war each year represent resources not available to meet human needs at home. Our bombs dropped in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have caused the displacement (and homelessness) of untold millions. So it is that we continue our monthly vigils at Lockheed-Martin corporation, and speak out against the ROTC program at Santa Clara University, all in an effort to address the root causes of homelessness. Please check our website for our schedule, and join us if you can.
At the heart of all that we do at the Catholic Worker is prayer, and we invite you to join us for one of our many prayer gatherings. Most Friday nights we gather at 7:30 p.m. for a prayer group with the Verbum Dei sisters from San Francisco. A diverse group of students and professionals, retirees and young adults, engineers and women experiencing homelessness, gathers each week to break open the Word of God. Please check our website for our latest schedule, and join us! In addition, every 1st Saturday of the month we celebrate Mass, either in our backyard or our dining room. It is always a beautiful celebration, with about thirty of us gathered around the altar for worship.
The Catholic Worker community is doing well. We have a sense of settledness and stability, as Julian and Lisa enter their second year with us, Andrew his third, and I enter my fourth year here. Our chocolate lab Coco, of course, has been here longer than any of us, and keeps us in check. We are blessed with a rich network of Catholic Worker communities both in the Bay Area and nationally, and hope to deepen those connections in the years to come.
We hope this season is filled with blessings and love for each and every one of you. Thank you for all you do to make this work possible.
on behalf of the Catholic Worker community