Archive for April, 2019


April 30, 2019

Photo of Helen Prejean


“Now the number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him or her was his or her own, but they had everything in common.” Acts 4:32

Dear God,

I am so afraid to open my clenched fists! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love—unconditional, everlasting love.

Amen. Henri Nouwen

    In our scripture we read of the transformation of the early believers into those who shared all, and in so doing Christianity spread, for it was the early Christians who put their lives on the line in feeding people, caring for people in the midst of disease. Christ transformed the early believers into being Christ bearers-the willingness to give their lives for others.

    We can sit back, and tell ourselves that we are homo sapiens,  that we come from monkey’s,  and so what else can we expect but violence, hatred, and selfishness and that is true, but in our evolutionary life God has given us the opportunity into moving into being like him in the Cosmic Christ, the one who transforms the whole world into his realm of peace, love, wholeness. Each of us can become a Christ bearer, we simply need to say yes, and take one step at a time. And we have seen  examples, St. Francis, Damien of Molokai, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, Reverend Glenda Hope, Sr. Bernie Galvin, and so many more through the centuries and now.

    Brother David Allen describes that evolution when he says:

“Growth happens in many ways, sometimes quickly, and sometimes slowly. As we grow in faith, it is steadfastness that pays in the long run.”  Steadfastness, putting our hands to the plow and not looking back.

    For me, let’s see–I have talked about being in the “rabbit hole” this past year or so, well I am out of it now, and I am sat steadfastly walking towards  Galilee. My time is coming to an end in a few years or sooner, and I will be forgotten, but my legacy is in the lives of those I have touched, seeking to the best of my ability to be one with them, to walk with them, to love them, to care for them, not seeing age, race, religion, creed,  or color but seeing in each one the best that they can be and trying my damn-est to love them with all of my heart . And that is the challenge the Cosmic Christ gives all of us, to be Christ bearers, “to love the Lord our God, with all of our heart, mind, and soul and our neighbor as ourselves”. To love expecting nothing in return!  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Philip Workman Memorial Banquet

Noon, May 9, 2019

Civic Center/Polk Side

Philip was executed on May 9, 2007, his life being transformed in his years on death row, his last act one of unselfish giving of vegetarian pizza (this year we may give veggie sandwiches due to cost), and so we join him in faith opposing the death penalty.

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Resurrection Is Commission

April 29, 2019


Philip Workman

Resurrection Is Commission

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Luke 20:21-23

    As a twelve year old attending  a campfire in the Ozarks, we experienced a strange warming of the heart. We felt loved, as we had never been loved before, and we knew we were called to ministry. This  was  a resurrection experience that commissioned us to ministry from that day forward. From the cotton fields of the south to the streets of San Francisco we have followed that resurrection experience. When we were knocked down it was that experienced that picked us up again, when we have felt abandoned, again the experience of the resurrection lifts us up and commissions us. The resurrection experience transcends all fears, and all obstacles.

    Through this life changing resurrection experience we have experienced the words of Father Henri Nouwen as we have “Preached the Word, and Administered the Sacraments:”

“For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women, and men to be loved.”

Our prayer for you this season of Easter is to be commissioned by the resurrection. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Philip Workman Memorial Banquet

May 9, 2019

12 Noon

Polk side of City Hall

Come remember the life of Philip
Workman, executed on this date in 2007, whose last gift  feeding the homeless with his last meal.

Let us remember him and all those waiting execution and pray the death penalty may end throughout this country as we give life  through feeding the homeless vegetarian pizza.

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

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Volunteers Needed


Changes and Centering

April 29, 2019

Dear Friends,

In the early morning of January 1, 2018, a foggy  night, I slipped and broke my rotary cuff. What followed  has been a year of recovery, which has been remarkably successful.  As with all injuries we have limitations,  the primary one is being unable to lift anything over thirty pounds (30 pounds) which leads us to discontinue our hot meal once or twice a week. The gift is that  we will completely center our time and energy on our pastoral ministry.

We will make sandwiches and give out fruit bars, so food will be provided. Many of you have participated in these meals, and we would like to give you our profound thanks, but also to offer you opportunities  to participate more fully in our ministry enabling our work to continue and to evolve in a variety of ways.

1. We are continually wrapping birthday gifts, last year we gave away  859 gifts;

2. Wrapping Christmas gifts–usually around 1200;

3.  Rolling socks together, which is around 25, 000 pairs a year.

4.  Making sandwiches;

5. Packaging condoms, clean needles and other harm reduction supplies;

6. Help in  digitizing  and organizing  our photos for the Catholic Worker Archives at Notre Dame University;

7.  Help in planning our Anniversary Celebration in October;

8. Making hospital calls on youth-we will train you; visit nursing homes where many are now living due to HIV related disabilities , and disabilities from being on the street for years;

9. Handle emergency calls when I am out of town.

Br. Luke Ditewig reminds us to “Look back. Draw on your memory. Jesus is victorious but not as the world expects and often not as we imagine or want.  Resurrection power comes surprising in the ordinary and informal, including our past” and so let us be surprised in what is to come, remembering the goodness of the past.

So there are many, many opportunities, and we look forward to seeing you in our work in these areas in the days ahead.

In Jesus, Street Person and Rebel,

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

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



Missing the Messenger

April 27, 2019


Missing the Messenger

Mark 16:9-15

    Thursday night I was  a bitch to a volunteer, and what was going on was simply projection, the projection of my own wishes  upon him. For my deepest desire is for  everyone to see my street kids as I see them–my friends. 

    Earlier he overhead a fight with a nineteen year old over some school stuff, and I am sure he thought I was crazy, fighting with an adolescent, but the truth is I do not see age, race, creed, but the individual. On my desk are the photos of seven 17-19 year olds who call me their homie, or a part of their team. They are the ones who this past year and a half who walked with me through the surgery, and the pain of the recovery afterward. They are my closest friends. Physically and emotionally they have been there.

    I have been joking on face book with Michael, who has been in my life since he was 14 sleeping on the streets. He and his wife have just bought a house in a poor neighborhood in Albuquerque, and I told him to buy one with in a rich neighborhood  and give me the poor one it is so nice; Andrew, who is 30, and was my friend  since he was 15, has called me from Baltimore many times to listen to me, and the  list goes on and on. They are my friends.

    Once I was invited to give a presentation on my work in Minneapolis, and there was a 150 people present–they heckled me, everyone of them because I had no “boundaries”, and was a threat to out reach workers, to their jobs. They were so caught up in their own fears, they would not even give me the respect to listen.

    Jesus told his family that they were a part of his universal family, and they called him crazy. What he meant was that the boundaries that constrain us, limits us, and hinders growth into universal love must go. We are all family, there are no walls. Mary Magdalene in our story today is one who was outside the bounds and Jesus embraced her.

    We miss the Messenger because we fail to hear his message of liberation, of walking with people in their pain and of not trying to fix them. For when we walk with people, just as they are, in the moment what happens is they see us and and feel our love, and gradually begin to change. They change out of our love for them.     It is painful. I have scars on my body, I am scared emotionally, and I am hurt a lot, but when we move out of ourselves,and see the other, we embrace the Other. We meet the Christ, he is embraces us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

A BOOK REVIEW: A RESURRECTION SHAPED LIFE : Dying and Rising on Planet Earth by Jake Owensbey

        This book is about living the resurrection in our daily lives. We grow into eternity on earth through living our lives in a resurrection faith. “If we see in the cross God’s embrace of the world’s sufferings, we will see in the risen Christ God’s response to that suffering. The empty tomb assures us that, in Christ, suffering and death can lead to new life, ” in this quote what he is saying that each of us is the ‘body of Christ” each of us bears Christ in our bodies. We each journey the walk of crucifixion in loving and caring for people, and in doing so we experience the resurrection. Discipleship and eternal life are dreams–that is until we commit ourselves to the suffering of living those dreams through loving and serving others, all people. 

    We are called to live the dream in grace, not in judgment, in forgiveness, not in punishment, and in that we grown in the resurrection to eternal life.


Peniel–May Newsletter–Temenos Catholic Worker

April 27, 2019

Journal of An Alien Street Priest:

    A few days after my inauguration as President of the United States, in 2025 I will be issuing an executive order forbidding the use of the word “love” by any one in the United States. I do not have anything against the reality of love; it is the word itself that results in  my disapproval. It has become near meaningless.  In the 1970s Australia, “Love” was a brand of pet food with the sickening slogan, “Give your pet Love.”   In our hippie days in the 70’s love became the groovy word, everyone loved each other. Today I am told I am loved a hundred times a week–as long as I am giving food, socks, etc..

    Because love is the divine nature, all prose and poetry  can do is describe what love does. My take is that divine love is embracing, and runs through every divine interaction. Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her sonnet described love in these words “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

    After the executive order on using the word, we will be compelled to find alternatives. All of us can think of a dozen  different near synonyms in as many seconds. Love is affection, friendship,service, intimacy, forgiveness, acceptance, listening, welcoming, embracing, hilarity, recognition and many more. Imagine how much stronger the proclamation to love is when such words are used instead of lofty abstractions.

    Living the Gospel is the every day living of kindness, and caring to everyone. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Philip Workman Memorial Banquet

May 9, 2019

12 Noon

Civic Center Plaza

Polk side of City Hall

    On this day we remember those who are on death row and that justice is best sought through mercy rather than vengeance. We remember Philip Workman because he exemplifies the transformational experience that can occur when people are given time to examine their lives.

    Philip was executed on May 9, 2007 for a murder that occurred decades earlier, despite doubts about his guilt. During those years on death row his life evolved into one of service to his fellow inmates and to people outside the walls. Philip puts a human face on the death penalty. His last act was to have his last meal of pizza delivered to the homeless,we will honor Philip by giving out pizza around Civic Center Plaza.

    This year we give thanks to Governor Newsome for his moratorium on the death penalty. This is an great act of courage, and we should honor him by campaigning to remove the law that makes the death penalty legal. For in the days and years ahead there may come a time when “Egypt will forget Joseph,” and we return to the death penalty. Let us fight to eliminate that law.


Congratulations to Stephanie Salter

    Congratulations to our friend Stephanie Salter on her induction into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame on May 18, 2019. Stephanie wrote for the San Francisco Examiner, and finished her career at the Terre Haute Star Tribune. Stephanie has been our friend since we first began. Her articles and support made our ministry possible. Thank you Stephanie!

       If you would like to send  congratulations to Stephanie we would be  honored to pass them forward to her. Use our email or for snail mail: P.O. Box 642656, San Francisco, CA 94164.


Temenos Twenty fifth Anniversary Celebration

“Home Coming”

October 5, 2019

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

6:30 p.m .

“No One is An Enemy or Stranger, I get along with All.”


We Honor and Remember Vicki Yeley’


    This is the most difficult remembrance we have written, for Vicki Yeley was our best friend, and confident. She was  a friend of Temenos Catholic Worker,  friend most importantly a friend  of all. Vicki  always participated in the Good Friday Service, and the Philip Workman Banquet,  through attendance and financial support. Vicki was always a fr She was wife, mother, friend, and attorney.

       This is not a good bye, for  you are with us as you join that Great Cloud of Witnesses.


WE Are Beggars

    As we enter the Summer season we ask, we beg that you remember our ministry by financial support.  Our ministry is one of sacramental presence and in walking with our youth on the street we walk with them as friends, and give out a thousand pairs of socks a month, feed, several hundred people, visit them in the hospital, go to court with them, and simply show care. So join us by giving


P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Pal pal, which can be found at

Thank you!




The Murkiness of Life

April 25, 2019

Homeless Person April, 2019

The Treasure Within

April 24, 2019

Father River Damien Sims, 2019


Acts 3:1-10

    Peter says it: “I have no silver or gold. But what I have I give you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” It is easy to give silver or gold, material things, than give of ourselves. Let’s put Jesus in a bottle and hand out tracts, listen to sermons, read pious books, and pray in our nice gardens. 

    What is unique about being a Christian is that we have Jesus to give. We have the kingdom of God to share.  “Before the music starts to play, we’re enfolded by silence, out of which the music is born. Remembering our eternal life in Christ in the here and now is like recognizing that eternal silence present within each moment as the music of the world plays on.” (David Rice). 

    The gift only makes its home in us like a treasure in a clay jar. I have learned that when I feel depleted by responding to others, I may be trying to give them something other than Jesus.  Peter and John simply gave their faith, their trust, and loved them for who they are, not expecting anything in return. This is their power, this is their faith–give their faith, their love.

    My time is coming to an end, sooner than later, and my legacy is that I have given of my faith in the young guys I walk with. I may never mention the name of Jesus, but they know the love,  the care, the chances I take for them, is given in faith. They know that I hang out with them, party with them, take them to appointments, represent them in court that is all  given in my faith in Jesus. Yesterday I worked on a paper with one, and he said,”I know you love me, no matter what I do,” that is my legacy. I have little to give financially, but I have my faith, my care for them. I can give of myself.  And that eternal life is here and now and not somewhere in the future. I have no regrets. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Philip Workman Memorial Banquet

May 9, 2019


City Hall-Polk Streetside

Philip was executed on May 9, 2007, he gave his last meal of pizza to the homeless; his life was transformed over the years. Today in Texas John William King will be executed for the brutal dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. in 1998. He was a twenty three year old young man at the time, and James Byrd, a young black man. It is not our place to judge life or death, only God. Let us remember the Byrd family, and let us remember William King.  May God be with both today!

Going Into Galilee

April 22, 2019


Go to Galilee and You Will See Me!”

Matthew 28:8-15 English Standard Version (ESV)

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Mary Magdalene is a model for our own discipleship.  Each of us is called by name to bring our failures and our demons to Jesus in an intimate encounter. we take up our cross and follow Jesus, accepting the suffering that comes with pouring out our lives in accord with the needs that surround us in our neighbors. We proclaim the good news in our giving to those around us.

Caesar Chavez reminds us, that “It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.” And we can  do that in the simplest of ways–giving out a candy bar to people we meet on the street.

This morning I walked to my dentist on Sutter Street and I gave out candy bars to 52 people on the street. And yes some can be  hateful,  many struggle with mental illness, and all are dirty, and in giving them that bar of candy they become the broken body of Christ.  Just simple acts and in doing so we find life in it’s fullness,and we have moved into Galilee and in that moment the Risen Christ is with us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Philip Workman Memorial Banquet

May 9, 2019


Polk Street side of City Hall

We gather to remember Philip who was executed on this date in 2007 in Tennessee, a changed man, and his last act was to give piazza to homeless people. We affirm the one seamless thread of life!

Walking Tombs

April 19, 2019

Queer Stations of the Cross

Walking Tombs–Good Friday, 2019

On Wednesday I was sitting in a restaurant on Polk Street. Hundreds of people walked, drove, and peddled down the street. Some were listening to music, others running, there were homeless, the rich, the middle class, young and old, disabled in various ways, and people of all colors and religions.

Paraphrasing Richard Rhor, they were  walking tombs, with the Christ light with in them, waiting to burst forth in resurrection to care for those around them and to give life, to a weary world.

Today on this Good Friday we remember Vicki Yeley, friend, mother, sister, attorney, who was a tomb that burst forth into the resurrection with whomever she met. Her life was one of giving to others. She placed everyone on equal level. One of her recent jobs was to work with children of parents who were divorcing, and one, difficult young lady wrote a lovely message to her husband describing Vicki’s love for her. Each Christmas she would cut her client’s bills in half. Vicki was a sign of the resurrection.

Today as we walk through the Tenderloin and back into our own places in society, let us remember that we walk as tombs, with the Christ light waiting to burst forth in resurrection. Today as we observe the pain and the suffering on our streets, may we open our hearts to become the resurrection to those we meet. We are walking tombs–but within us is the Christ Light-waiting for us to open the door to let him burst forth in the brightness of new life  around us. Christ beckons us to open the door.

Tenderloin Stations of the Cosmic Christ

In Honor and Memory of Vicki Yeley


Noon-2 p.m.

City Hall–Polk Street side

For more info.

Fr. River Damien Sims

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Cooking With the Fallen One’s

April 18, 2019

Holy Communion and the Streets

Cooking With the Fallen One’s

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16 bc, 17-18, I Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15

“I have given you an example. .Truly I say to you a servant is not greater than his maser, nor a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” John 13:14 ff

    Our groups and our societies are built on the model of a pyramid:  At the top are the rich, the powerful,  the intelligent, those called to govern and guide. Walk through our private schools and you will hear teachers talk to the students of their responsibility to govern, to lead, to maintain their position. They are the elite. Look at all levels of our government–the people in power come from the elite, from the private schools, with a few exceptions. There is no such thing as equality in our leaders. And the one’s who do come from the middle class, become wealthy in the process of service. They move to the top of the pyramid.

    In the middle are the worker bees, those who maintain the fabric of society, and the majority, hence our politicians appeal is to the middle class–they are the majority; At the bottom are the immigrants, the servants, the unemployed, the homeless, the slaves, those with mental illness, the  disabled, the aged–they are excluded and pushed to the margins. We see them on our streets in growing numbers, we turn away from them, we ignore them. They are the fallen one’s. Society just hums along without even noticing those on the margins.

    And then Jesus walks in taking the place of the fallen one’s, the people at the bottom, the most obscure, and transforms society from a pyramid to a body, where each person has a place, regardless of their wealth, abilities, or disabilities, regardless of their nationality, color, or religious background, who are dependent on one another. Each one is called to fulfill a mission, a mission of caring for one another. His is a vision of everyone with  housing, food, and  health care, and all are a part of one body. The vision of Jesus is one of equality.

    On Holy Thursday Jesus reveals himself as the most destitute in society, the one who cleans the toilets, scrubs the floors, launders  the clothes; he reveals himself as the crippled, the aged, and the mentally ill.  Jesus reveals himself as the God who is not in the heavens, but squarely on earth, and is hidden in the hearts of  those in  last place. Cooking with the fallen One’s brings out that goodness in that   we see we are no different, only struggling souls.

    The Gospel message is a pineapple upside down cake, turned upside down revealing all of its sweetness. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God! 


Holy Thursday Holy Communion on the Street

Meet at 1618 Polk Street, Apartment 8


8:00 p.m.

Celebrate Holy Communion and than Walk Polk and Administer the Sacrament

For More Information call 415-305-2124


Tenderloin Stations of the Cosmic Christ

In Honor of Vicki Yeley

Begin City Hall, Polk Street side

Noon-2:00 p.m.

April 19, 2019

Temenos Catholic Worker

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164