Peniel–June-Pride Issue

“Where Jacob Wrestled With God and Survived”


Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124 (pay pal)

June, 2017

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min., D.S.T.,  Director


Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

One day a person was asking Dorothy Day how she could remain within the church, when the church was indifferent to poverty.  She replied, “The Church is both a whore, and our holy Mother.” 

    Dorothy was expressing the ying and the yang in the humanity of the Church. We struggle with the good and bad in our lives, and we are a mixture of evil.  None of us is perfect. We are redeemed by Jesus, but our redemption will not come into its fullness on this earth; we are constantly growing and struggling. The best of the Church is found in its mothering, and caring, but the majority of the time it is somewhere in between.

    June is the month of Pride. We celebrate the equality of all of people, regardless of race, creed, religion, and in particular sexual orientation.  We affirm gender in all forms.

    A quote from the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, Kate Hennessy, in her book Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty, speaks of the pain resulting for her father and, ultimately, his family in the church of his day, on his being queer:

“A photo has survived of my father and MM, a slender, handsome man, with a pleasant face, not so rugged as David’s (her father), nor with the same intensity.  I look at the photo of the two of them, and I know I am witness to the shredding of a man’s soul, because of his love for another man and his church and his faith could not abide this.” 

“God cannot rest in an unquiet heart,” said St. Teresa of Avila, “and what is more unquiet than a heart filled with self hatred.”

Thus began years of struggle with anger, alcoholism, and domestic abuse that led to his family’s leaving the church. The church (universal Church) has come a long way since then, where she has grown and has become open and accepting in many of her branches, but the struggle remains. The pain also remains; we need to face it, struggle with it, and move to the point of seeing the One whom it represents–Jesus–who loves us abundantly.

    Jesus of Nazareth summarizes the Great Commandment that is required in order to follow him: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” It is looking in his eyes of inclusive love that we find ourselves in the embrace of  “holy mother church.”

    And through looking into that face, I find the ability to love Christ and my neighbor, and see my own self- hatred evaporate, and so I can proclaim loud, and clear: “I am a priest in holy Mother Church, and I am queer.”


Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!



Vilma Van Ollefen

Spiritual Director,  Minister to the Poorest of the Poor, Friend of Temenos Catholic Worker

And Fr. River Sims


In Memory of

Mark Gummere




When people donate money to us, one can say it becomes the money of Temenos Catholic Worker, but we personally always remember that that money is the possession of others given to be used for the welfare of our street youth, and we use it as a sacred trust and in a responsible manner. Food, socks, pastoral care, and harm reduction supplies are provided through your giving.

Please give as your heart leads you:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




Anyone who would like to volunteer at Pride on June 25th, please contact Fr. River at  the number above.


Our every day work continues, feeding people, providing needle exchange, pastoral care and counseling for individuals, and simply walking with people on the road of life.

For the past six and a half years one woman has walked with us in providing space for cooking, funerals, and storage of our supplies.  This week we grieve, as the Reverend Dana Corsello of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church leaves for Washington D.C. We also rejoice in her new position.  You will be missed my friend. Thank you for your support, for your care, these past years!

Dana Is the One On the Right-Helen Prejean on the left–two worthy, courageous ladies.





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