Archive for August, 2019

A Riff of Love:Notes On Community and Belonging

August 20, 2019

A Riff of Love: Notes on Community and Belonging

by Greg Jarrell–A Reflection.

Matthew 20:1-16 English Standard Version (ESV)

Laborers in the Vineyard

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius[a] a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’[b] 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”


Jarrell’s book is a story about living in community in a changing neighborhood in Charlotte, South Carolina. It is a book that for me was difficult and I cried as page by page,  it describes his neighborhood of Enderly Park, a neighborhood of black people seeking to make ends meet. Jarrell, presents stories of death and life, and of a neighborhood that is being gentrified, in other words the poor blacks are being pushed out by the rich whites. He also describes how the Civil Rights Movement brought certain freedoms, and yet at the same time, the white power holders, codified the law where Blacks remain segregated. 

Same old story as from the first day slaves were brought into this country, just a different name. Same old story as we read through out the Bible.

The book calls us to convert, to turn around and face the reality of the pain that is being caused, and in which many of us participate unwittingly, and walk with our neighbors as peers, as equals, and like the workers are treated in our Gospel.

For me I see Polk Street and the Haight. When I first came Polk was an edgy queer street, gay bars, hustling and drugs. There was a mixture of people. Rent was inexpensive. Through the years Polk has slowly, changed, to a street of wealth, privilege. It is called “Middle Polk Blvd.” rather than Polk Gulch. Several years ago a group wanted to paint a mural honoring the queer community and those who were sex workers, for which  Polk was known, and that in many ways was an expression of the Gay Liberation Movement, and they were told “no”. A portion of queer history is lost. Polk played a key role in the queer liberation movement. It was the queer street before the Castro. All of that is lost. This past must be forgotten, it might threatened the economic rise of the area. One organization’s  aim is to see that Polk is profitable, and the poor, the disenfranchised are pushed out. Only those who have money are welcome.

Haight Street is similar. It is now a “tourist mecca” celebrating the 60’s in artistic ways, especially in ways to make money,  rents are sky high. The old shops are gone. Street youth are harassed. Little assistance is offered.

Through the years in my ministry I have tried to live as close to the people I serve, and I do. I am living more simply than ever before, most of my finances goes to providing for their needs, and I have been where they are in sex work and poverty. But there is still a difference, I am privileged: the best health care, support from friends, a nice place to live, and freedom to go where I want. Today I received two pairs of glasses–one for everyday use, specially equipped for driving at night, and another pair for computer use and reading. Privileged I am, and their are times I feel guilty, but am learning to use that privilege to help others have the same privileges as I do. Most importantly I am “white”, and educated. I can move where I want and the police and people want label me or be nervous when I am around. Racism is alive and well in San Francisco, we just choose to ignore it. I have friends in Marin who are Mexican, and the racism with which they are treated is really difficult to watch, because it is under the surface. Never directly, but it is there.

Jarrell has stopped having youth groups, and individuals volunteer, because in coming, they bring their privileged, and see the poor as separate, and than leave ‘feeling good”. There is no connection–but a separation into the privileged and under privileged.

  We watched a group of young people on Polk recently trying to “preach Jesus and save souls,” and one person they spent time with was an elderly, alcoholic, who is homeless, and after the group left he said to me: “They think they are fu..king better than us, and I accepted Jesus and took their twenty dollars.” The youth went home feeling good, they saved a soul.

One of Jarrell’s suggestions is that we truly walk with people, that we seek conversion, “to turn around”, and change the systems that destroy neighborhoods.  The Fillmore is a good example, it was once a scene of music, fine foods, but when the City moved into to change, the blacks were moved out. It is now truly a place for people with money.

We can blame President Trump all we choose, but the truth is that this is within us. He may have made it easier for people to express their ism’s, but it is within us. We need to convert, to turn around, and walk out as our parable tells us today treating everyone as equals. In the eyes of God all of us are the same, we are loved, and cared for equally, and his/her call is for us turn around, and do the same. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Grace Revealed:”Finding God’s Strength in Any Circle

August 19, 2019

Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength in Any Crisis

Fred Sievert–a Book Review

Judges 2:11-19; Matthew 19:16-22

Judges is a book we do not hear of very often, only six times a year in the lectionary; It is a book about the results of not following God. The Israelite’s sin, follow false God’s and live in ways of mistreating people, largely being self centered, and wanting quick fixes in much the same way that we live today. 

Materialism and all of the ism’s are our gods. We get hooked on a feel good theology, which feels good, more like mutual masturbation, than in centering on those outside of our selves, and we stay in our little tribes. We want addictions, grief, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse to be fixed. We want homeless people off the street, and especially to give them medications and get them into treatment for their addictions.

Silvert in his book Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength In Any Crisis, debunks those false gods. He calls us back to the God of the Bible who  finds  God’s strength within us and calls us to be compassionate.

“Real love demands attention and dedication. You dare see someone as they really are, and connect with them in that genuineness. You set yourself up for a roller coaster of feelings, but you keep yourself strapped in until that ride reaches its destination.

Mary Magdalene loved Jesus this way. When all the other disciples had abandoned him, she stayed at the foot of the cross. When they were asleep, she ventured to the grave. There was no sugarcoating his death, and she did not avoid her grief.  

Her honesty and courage led to a new Reality, one that called her by name. “Mary!”

Easter is something you experience when you don’t avoid Good Friday. When you endure and confront your chaotic feelings when a relationship dies…a dream dies…a career dies…a body dies.

The cross is reality. And the power of Christianity is that it doesn’t avoid this death. Rather, it empowers you to embrace it so you can discover a different life, on God’s terms and not your own.

Mary Magdalene loved reality. She followed her feelings bravely, from cross to grave to a new relationship.” Rev. Greg Weeks

The thesis of Siever’s book is that real love calls us  to face the reality of the issues we face. For example sometime ago I had been hurt, and started crying sitting in church, people got up and walked away, they could not stand to see me cry, or even ask me what was wrong.  I never cried in church again. Real love calls us to away from the false gods that tell us all will be well, every thing can be fixed in a moment. to walking with people in their pain, for all of us are in pain at one time or another, all of us suffer or will suffer and we will die.  Jesus tell us in our gospel today: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. .”If you would be perfect, go sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me. Matthew 19:16-22.”

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


August 17, 2019


Jeremiah 38: 1-6; 8-10

6: There was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud………….

   11 So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. 12 Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. 13 Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.


The image of Jeremiah sinking into the mud has got to be one of the most pathetic in all Scripture. The great prophet, the great counselor is utterly dejected, thrown into a hole and left for dead, slowly sinking into the mud.

I know that feeling for  much of time I feel stuck, and become sad and depressed. Criticized, more homeless on the streets, people never positive, prayer seems empty, and the hateful remarks on social media. And I am told I do not do enough. One day follows another bringing nothing new. And I can not seem to pull myself out of the slump. And then comes along Ebed-melech to save me from the cistern.

    Eled-melech stops by the palace linen  closet and gathers some old rags. He sends them down to Jeremiah instructing him to to put the rags between his arm pits and the ropes, in order to save some pain as he is hauled up. It is a small gesture, an act of kindness and care.

Small gestures–a friend telling me they love me, seeing someone smile as I feed them, all are gestures  acts of love that remind me it is in simply doing the work of of presence, that is important, not the results, just being faithful.


And the words of Father Henri Nouwen speak truth in these moments:

Our Gifts Are Not The Same As Our Talents

More important than our talents are our gifts. We may have only a few talents, but we have many gifts. Our gifts are the many ways in which we express our humanity. They are part of who we are: friendship, kindness, patience, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, love, hope, trust, and many others. These are the true gifts we have to offer to each other.

Somehow I have known this for a long time, especially through my personal experience of the enormous healing power of these gifts. But since my coming to live in a community with mentally handicapped people, I have rediscovered this simple truth. Few, if any, of those people have talents they can boast of. Few are able to make contributions to our society that allow them to earn money, compete on the open market, or win awards. But how splendid are their gifts!


We  may not have many talents if any, I know I do not, but what I have is the gift of love, the gift of listening, the gift of being present.

Recognizing these gestures in our own lives may be just enough to lift us out of the mud. We are as St. Paul tells us surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and  looking  up we see those who have come to help, bringing rags with the rope.  A simple gesture of love! Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



A Call to Intimacy

August 17, 2019

A Call to Intimacy

“Fear the Lord and Serve Him in Sincerity and  Faithfullness.” Joshua 24:14

Sr. Helen Prejean comments in her book River of Fire that as a young girl all around her she was presented with the ideal life of marriage and children, and says: “It’s the settling in for life, promising to find happiness with just one person, that gave me pause. I wanted more.”

Similarly for us  marriage or a relationship with one person was not in the cards,  we too wanted more.

Since that day at 12 years old, and we felt that call to ministry, the burning of the fire in our   heart, all that we ever   wanted was to serve Christ. And it is that call that has been pursued upon the river of life from that day forward.

There was a period in the months before we came to San Francisco, that we dated someone, and seriously thought about marriage and settling down. One day as we set in  supervision our supervisor commented, “River you have a gift, one in which you let a young person enter into your life in such away, where they feel at home, and you walk with them as their friend. It is a powerful gift, but one in which you will not be able to fully use unless you walk alone, you can choose the one or the thousands.” That day we knew we would choose the thousands. We knew our call was a call to intimacy, intimacy that was not sexual, but one of openness, one of sharing, and giving, without expecting anything in return.

In “Life to Love” we read:

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone the truth, when you can show yourself to  them, when you can stand in front of them and their response is “you’re safe with me” that’s intimacy.”

We have never really been lonely, maybe occasionally feel alone, but in giving our self away we become more human, we become ragged, and more real.  We tell the truth, we invite others to tell the truth, and in doing so we find much joy. We seek to:

“Fear the Lord and Serve Him in Sincerity and  Faithfulness.” Joshua 24:14

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94162


(We asked you to give in order that others may have food and socks.)

Taking the Waters

August 15, 2019

Taking the Waters

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Revelation 11:19a: 12:1-10; Psalm 45:10, 11,12, 16; I Corinthians 15:20-27; Luke 1:39-56

In an Irish folk tradition we read of Mary ascending to heaven, weeping, and her tears falling into the ocean. This is symbolized in the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, where on this feast her tears are reactivated in the sea, and their  touch brings health to mind, body, and soul. Irish Americans go to the beach and dip their feet in the ocean returning with jugs of seawater for those who are too ill to travel on this day.

This story exemplifies the lived genius of the Catholic-Anglican traditions of knitting together the human and divine.

This blessing is available to us in the asking of God to speak to us in the myriad ways in which healing is available to us–relationships, communal, physical and emotional–Christ becomes incarnate in each and every one of us and reminds us in the the words of St. Francis that all of the false boundaries we put up, our failures to provide the basic human rights of health care, and housing, our hoarding of money–all matter not in the end, but only the tears of the Blessed Virgin brings us to wholeness:

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you take with you nothing that you have received–only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. St. Francis of Assisi.” Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




Today we give you the opportunity to bring some of the sea water, the tears of Mary back in your giving for socks for our people who live on the streets. We have just made a $5000.00 order, and any help would be appreciated, all are gifts are tax deductible, and you need to send an email to us so we can send you a donation receipt.  Thank you.

Come Eat With Me By Rob Douglas–Book Review

August 12, 2019

Come Eat With Me!

By Rob Douglas

Reverend Rob Douglas is an Australian minister of a conservative denomination and in Come Eat With Me takes through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation writing stories with the theme of hospitality at their center.

Douglas presents the theology of the Bible centered around hospitality, and shows us God’s hospitality working with humanity.  Our meals are a metaphor for relationship, and God’s purpose is to invite us to a meal with our Creator. He highlights the benefits and the challenges but ultimately with the theme that in the end we sit down as a meal with God.

The theme that Douglas drives home is that God has offered us hospitality from the first moment of creation, and through the ages has continued, and that hospitality is both physical and spiritual nourishment. Those who follow Jesus are called to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to every human being regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or political-economic station in life.

Evangelism is bringing us all together under the banner of the One God, of many faces, providing for the spiritual and physical needs of all.

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

Breaking and Entering

August 11, 2019

Breaking and Entering

Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:2, 18-19; Luke 12:32-48

Luke 12:32–48

32 r“Fear not, little sflock, for tit is your Father’s good pleasure to give you uthe kingdom. 33 vSell your possessions, and wgive to the needy. xProvide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with ya treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 zFor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

You Must Be Ready

35 a“Stay dressed for action6 and bkeep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are cwaiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and dknocks. 37 eBlessed are those servants7 whom the master finds eawake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, fhe will dress himself for service and ghave them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 hBut know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour ithe thief was coming, he8 would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be jready, for kthe Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

41 Peter said, “Lord, lare you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is mthe faithful and mwise nmanager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 oBlessed is that servant9 whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, phe will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master qis delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and rget drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come son a day when he does not expect him and sat an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 tAnd that servant who uknew his master’s will but vdid not get ready uor act according to his will, will receive a wsevere beating. 48 xBut the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, ywill receive a light beating. zEver

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus compares himself to a thief in this parable because thieves rely on the element of surprise. They break in when we least expect it, and they do not always look like thieves. That well dressed woman  we walk by on the Bart might be a pick pocket. Successful thieves are not deterred by the barricades we install either–locked doors, security locks, cameras and alarm systems.  Thieves know how to work around them. or better yet disarm them.

How does this apply to Jesus: Two thousand years ago he broke into our world in a surprising way: as a simple carpenter, turned wandering, preacher, walking the dusty roads of a backwater  place called Galilee. He came not employing force or power, but simply service and forgiveness.

Today Jesus remains the master of disguises: he breaks in using the the disguise of a baby, of an undocumented immigrant, of a street kid, a homeless older person, he enters into our lives in each person we see on the street.

“Jesus creates a home with all the neighbors whom we exclude, those we awkwardly walk around and look down upon. We are one big family. We belong not because of our ability, agility, or pedigree but because of our humanity, our vulnerability, our need.”

-Br. Luke Ditewig

And how do we do that? How do we get in touch with that sense of vulnerability to let our defenses down? Fr. Henri Nouwen describes the way in which we let Jesus into our lives to steal our hearts–and if we let him our very identity.
“Solitude molds self-righteous people into gentle, caring, forgiving persons who are so deeply convinced of their own great sinfulness and so fully aware of God’s even greater mercy that their life itself becomes ministry. In such a ministry there is hardly any difference left between doing and being. When we are filled with God’s merciful presence, we can do nothing other than minister because our whole being witnesses to the light that has come into the darkness.”

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Temenos Catholic Worker is in need of money for socks, and for food. Our finances are very low this summer. So we invite you to be a thief in the night and give and help those who have so little. Thank you!

Shadow on the Rock

August 7, 2019

Shadow of the Rock

Matthew 15:21-28


by Daniel Berrigan, SJ

“At Hiroshima there’s a museum 

and outside that museum there’s a rock, 

and on that rock there’s a shadow. 

That shadow is all that remains 

of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945 

when the nuclear age began. 

In the most real sense of the word, 

that is the choice before us. 

We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,

or we will become Shadows On the Rock.”

August 6 is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. It is a day of infamy in that innocent people were destroyed in the name of ending a war–not soldiers, but innocent civilians; it is a day that ignited the Atomic Age, and hurled us into being the most powerful nation on earth.

The shadow of that day hangs over us in our divisiveness by ethnic, political, and social-economical labels.

“When we label others, we stop seeing them as they are. We see them only as we are determined to see them, as we have decided that they must be. It’s important, then, to ask ourselves: Can I set aside my labels and take a fresh look?” Brother David Vryhof

A practice we have found useful is to sit in silence, to sit still, and to let our inner selves listen, and in so doing we will see that we are all the same–we all have the same needs, and expressed in the most awful ways, and that if we meet each other half way, we can find agreement, if we meet people on the level of mercy, rather than vengeance, we can find peace. Henri Nouwen wrote:

“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures. The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life and should, therefore, be the subject of our most personal attention.”

We have a choice: to become shadows on the rock, to no longer exist, to destroy ourselves in so many ways, or we can shine brightly as beacons of love, kindness, inclusiveness, and mercy.

“Lord Jesus, it was at night that you taught Nicodemus the mystery of our rebirth in water and the Spirit. As we keep vigil this night to hear your Word, bring to birth in us the new self which is your own creation, and we will come to the light and live by the truth, today and for ever. Amen. (Benedictine Daily Prayer) Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

River of Fire

August 5, 2019

River of Fire—New Book By Sr. Helen Prejean—Book Signings—Come Hear A Living Icon!


Events from Aug 5th

New Orleans, LA – River of Fire book launch

Sat Aug 10th 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Catholic Book Store New Orleans Hosts Sr. Helen Prejean at St. Rita’s School Auditorium

Miami, FL – River of Fire book event

Thu Aug 15th

Time TBA FORMAT: Sister Helen Prejean in conversation with Pastor Laurie Hafner, Q&A, booksigning Books available for purchase

St Louis, MO – River of Fire book event

Fri Aug 16th

Time: TBA Books available for purchase. Sister Helen Prejean in conversation, Q&A, book signing

Atlanta, GA River of Fire Book Event

Sat Aug 24th 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Corde Madara-Book Passage-51 Tamal Vista Blvd.  – River of Fire book event

Thu Sep 5th 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Sister Helen Prejean in conversation, Q&A, book signing

Danville, CA – Danville Congregational Church 989 Raon Valley Blvd River of Fire book event

Fri Sep 6th 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Sister Helen Prejean in conversation, Q&A, booksigning

Pasadena, CA –All Saints Episcopal Church- River of Fire book event

Sat Sep 7th 5:00pm – 6:00pm

FORMAT: Sister Helen Prejean in conversation with Moderator, Q&A, booksigning

Seattle, WA – River of Fire book event

Mon Sep 9th 7:00pm – 8:30pm

FORMAT: Sister Helen Prejean in conversation with Dean Mark Markuly Q&A, booksigning (to be confirmed)

Ann Arbor, MI – River of Fire book event

Wed Sep 11th 7:00pm – 8:30pm

FORMAT: In conversation, Q&A, book signing Bookseller: Literati Bookstore

Washington, DC – Georgetown University

Mon Sep 16th

Hudson, OH – River of Fire event

Thu Sep 19th

Boulder, CO River of Fire Event

Fri Sep 20th

Boulder, CO River of Fire Event

Tue Sep 24th

Denver, CO – River of Fire event

Wed Sep 25th

Denver, CO – ACLU event

Thu Sep 26th

Washington, DC – Catholic Mobilizing Network anniversary

Thu Oct 10th

Columbus, OH – Ohio Journey of Hope

Fri Oct 11th

Ohio Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing

Sioux Falls, SD – Prison Congregations of America conference

Thu Oct 17th

Chicago, IL – Opera Pre-Performance Chicago

Wed Oct 30th – Fri Nov 1st

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Sat Nov 2nd – Sun 3rd

Performance of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking

River Forest, IL – Dominican University

Mon Nov 4th

Kansas City, MO – Rockhurst University (evening) & Notre Dame de Sion HS (afternoon)

Wed Nov 6th

Fairfield, CT – Sacred Heart University

Thu Nov 7th

Archdiocese of Indianapolis Corrections Ministry

Sat Nov 16th 9:00am – 10:00am

No More Events

Peniel–August Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker

August 3, 2019

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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

AUGUST, 2019



    Nearly four weeks ago at 3 a.m. we walked out of  the apartment building  to go to the train station, going to Palm Springs to enter a retreat:  The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, in the coming three and a half weeks,  and looking  around saw people sleeping in our door way, in the filth of their bodies, used needles scattered, and the pain of so many. There was a feeling of being in Gotham City–a place so dreadful, where no light shined.

    We  were overwhelmed of our own fears of having to pay for recent dental surgery, and more to come, feeling  being pressed to the wall.     Money is short for our ministry, and with the surgery, we would not be able to use our own personal finances  for socks etc. Our friend, Edna, had provided the extra three weeks at a time share in Palm Springs for this retreat, which for us was the touch of Christ. 

    The question being considered: “Is it time to pack our bags and walk away?” We have given twenty five years, so why more? Friends, donors, walk away criticizing, and we frankly feel depleted.” People question what we do all the time.

    Through these weeks of slowly going through the Exercises we have sweated, cried  constantly, grieved, entered into times of  deep depression, and experiencing fears of  getting older, illness, and of losing our place where we live.  We look back at deaths, and daily listening to the pain of people who have little hope. And we raise the question of our own value.

    We listen over and over to the  words of Rainer Marla Rilke, and meditate on the Gospel of the Retreat, applying them to our journey:

“You asked whether your verses are good. You ask me. You have asked others before. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems. ..I beg you to give up all that. You are looking outward and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, no body. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you to write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it was denied you to write. This above all–ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night; must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must.” then build your life accordingly to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and testimony to it.

      With these words repeatedly   the words of Simone Weill run through our mind:

“Attention is the rarest form of generosity,” and “The love of our neighbor in all of its fullness simply means being able to say: “What are you going through?”

    The ministry of listening is the one to which we were called to so many years ago,  listening and  letting people  enter into  our life in such way, where they feel at home. That means pain, giving our self away.  And the words of the Velveteen Rabbit ring in our ears: “Wasn’t I Real before?” asked the little Rabbit. “You were real to the Boy, the Fairy said, “because he loved you. Now you shall be real to everyone.”

    Last night as we rode Amtrak home, a young man sat down, and asked me, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” And for the next hour and a half he poured out his story of drug treatment, using moments earlier, feeling like a failure, and loneliness. We simply listened, and as he left gave him our card telling him to call any time. He looked at me and said: “You are so different than any one, no one ever listens let along invites them  to call back if they need to,  and you do not know me, you are different.” And we are different, we give thanks to God for being different and it is our prayer that all of us become different and listen to each other.

    We return reaffirming our ministry of listening, being present to each person, and of meeting the Christ in each person young, old, middle age, that we meet. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

(For your consideration: To what is Christ calling you? What is Christ asking you to give everything for?)



We live in a time of division, of tribalism, and for us of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith’s we find unity in the One God.  This pendant contains the symbols of all three faiths:  the Cross, Crescent, and Star of David. It is the Inter-Faith Symbol that one can wear to demonstrate solidarity.

We offer this as a sign of solidarity. As we stand together against hate and discrimination.  It can be worn with pride. The cost is $100.00 which includes a chain.

To obtain this beautiful piece of jewelry please contact:

Zee Continental Jewelry 

1546 Polk Street

San Francisco, CA 94109




Saturday, October 5, 2019

6:30 p.m.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Twenty Fifth Anniversary Celebration of

Temenos Catholic Worker



As always we come to you begging. There are more people homeless, more people on the edge in need, and we are on the front lines. We provide food, clean needles, referrals, pastoral care and Sacramental ministry to 500 plus a month.  Our funds are down, so please pray, and reflect, and open your hearts and pocket books and give.

On our website: or pay

Through the Mail:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

All Checks must be made out to: Temenos Catholic Worker