Peniel

PENIEL
“Where Jacob Wrestled With God And Survived!”
August, 2016
Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
415-305-2124
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JOURNAL OF AN ALIEN STREET PRIEST

We enter August and we remember the days August as being called the “dog days of summer,” where we were raised in the South. They were so hot and humid that we stayed in the shade, and simply hung out, and drank a lot of iced tea. We remember going skinny dipping in the “Washout,” an enclosed body of water fed by springs, created by the 1812 New Madrid Earthquake, and neighbors stopping by at night as we sat on our porch outside. It was in the summer that our parents became sick and died, and it was the caring of neighbors, sitting with us, feeding us, that got us through.

 

What we learned from that period was hospitality–sharing, and caring.  We learned how to be a pastor through being pastored by neighbors and our minister.

 

It was during those hot days of summer that we met Norma in our last year of seminary. She was in her thirties with two daughters, and her husband had died suddenly a few weeks before our appointment to the parish. We were in a small town, a hundred miles away from medical care. Through the summer, Norma would remind me that she needed to “hear the Gospel in real life.”  She taught me to share of my own experience of Christ, for it is in our sharing that others can find hope and comfort; she taught me about boundaries.  In that small town, for a single minister to visit a woman late at night, it went against all boundaries.  Norma went through periods of suicidal thoughts, and grief, and there were nights when she would call and we would sit on her porch late, outside, for hours, as she lived through her pain. There were many who criticized us for being “improper.”  We learned that care crosses all of our false boundaries.  We have held the hands of people dying of all kinds of contagious diseases, without gloves, because they had not felt the human touch in days, and doctors, nurses, and clergy would criticize us–but pastoral care crosses all boundaries.

 

We have learned that in ministry we are always second; the needs of people come first, and, in the end, our own lives are fulfilled, and have meaning.

 

We have learned that God is a God of many faces, God comes to us in different expressions. When he was about to be assassinated, the Trappist Abbot in Algeria expressed this in written form to his prospective assassin:  “Thank you, my friend of the last moment, who will not know what you are doing. . .May we meet in heaven, like happy thieves, if it pleases God our common Father.” We meet people where they are, and respect their beliefs or non-beliefs.

 

Finally we hear the words of Mother Teresa and do our best to practice them:

 

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

 

The dog days of summer are our favorite time of the year, for we have time to relax and meditate, and we have learned some of the greatest lessons of life during these days. Our invitation to you is to take time and reflect upon what shapes the focus of your life.  Take the time to allow God to move in your life in the heat of the summer afternoons, where the best thing to do is to sit on your porch and drink iced tea. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God.!

 

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The Philip Workman Memorial Banquet–Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

 

This fall there will be an initiative on the ballot to eliminate the death penalty and have those on death row work in prison and their salaries be used to pay the victims.  We will focus on supporting this measure in the following ways:

 

1.  Through  blog.

 

2. Tabling at various community events.

 

3, October 7:  We will have our annual Philip Workman Memorial Banquet at 5:00 p.m. on Haight and Stanyan, where we will celebrate the Eucharist, feed our youth a vegan meal, and distribute literature.

 

4. October 31: Noon-2:00 p.m.: Vigil at State Capitol in Sacramento.

 

5. Vigil Each Week at Earl Warren Office Building. If interested please send email to franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

 

Sponsored by: Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

 

Email: franciscansagainstdeathpenalty@gmail.com

 

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We Are Beggars:

 

At the beginning of summer we are always low on finances. People are busy, they are vacationing, but our needs continue. There are more homeless people, more homeless youth come to San Francisco, and we give out three to four thousand pairs of socks a month, sometimes more. We continue to provide food and pastoral care to nearly 2000 each month.  So please remember we are beggars. Thank you.

 

You may send your donation via check to the following address or make your donation online through PayPal at www.temenos.org.

 

By Mail:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

 

All donations go for the work of providing for the needs of those we serve.

 

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