Peniel, Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker, June 2019,P.O. Box 642656 San Francisco, CA 94164

Journal of An Alien Street Priest

The Tender Hand’s of God’s Mercy

    How many of us reject God’s justice?  I dare say not one of us. We can not abide the thought that wrongdoers get away with their offenses. And boy do we all sit in justice: some of us judge people of color, LGBT?, others the homeless, and so on. We judge, we punish them, and we separate ourselves from those that do wrong or are different from us. We want our opponents to get what is coming to them. Mercy seems to threaten our yearning for a place that complies with the need for things to come out right.

    And herein lies the mystery: many of us are convinced this is a contest. Either we have a world that runs on justice or mercy. We can not have both. There is no room for both or is there?

    Henry Suso, Dominican mystic, describes the  interplay between justice and mercy. He talks of a mother who sees her wandering child  caught in a raging fire.  She once carried that child, will she now abandon him to his fate. Is this a time to blame, or to make a self sacrifice. She quickly reaches through the flames and rescues her child. Both are scared severely.

    The child made a mistake, he wandered away, but he does not deserve to be burned to death, and letting that happen is not faithful to justice.

    To see justice separated from love is a severe misunderstanding of it’s nature. Both child and mother do pay a price for this wrong doing, and both will keep the scars from this event. And we know that if she would make this choice a thousand times, each time the mother would put her hands into the fire.

    We are in a time when everyone is pointing fingers. In this Pride season there are those who point fingers at queer people and condemn, fingers are pointed at people who have made mistakes years ago, some really horrible. Queer people struggle with the Church, because of its’ condemnation, and for those whose denomination’s have become reconciling, the pain is deep, the wounds run deep, and bubble to the surface.

    And so in this glorious Pride season, and season of Pentecost and Ordinary time. we celebrate the wounded hands that went to hell and back for us. The marks Thomas observes restores justice  because they testify to love. These scars of Jesus do not obliterate divine justice. They transfigure it so that we might kiss, ever so softly, the perfection of justice and their only mercy’s tender handling can result. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Rethinking of Hot Meals

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.



Due to our illness, the death of several donors, and the retiring of a number of people our offerings are down. We are giving out 1000 pair of socks a month, feeding people every day snacks, and hot meals twice a week, our primary focus of pastoral and sacramental care are a part of our daily life, so please consider us in your giving.

Donations are tax deductible, and may be given through the mail at the address above or through pay pal on our web site or simply through pay pal.

Snail Mail:

    P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

    pay pal. You can find on website as well:

I always write a thank you note for our  gifts. I often receive notes or emails saying, “Do not waste a stamp.”  Our thank you notes are not just acknowledgments but come from our heart.   I joke that I am a “southern boy” raised with the gene of writing thank you notes, and that is true, but in truth I am very appreciative. I do not feel that any gift is complete without a thank you note, and so know it is never a problem, or time consuming, but a joy to acknowledge your gift. RS+

Thank you!



“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.”

Siri Guru Granth Sahib




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