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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ellsberg On the Canonization of Dorothy Day, May, 2015

The Lamb Catholic Worker, Columbus, Ohio, Reprint

"Why I Support the Canonization of Dorothy Day" by Robert Ellsberg,
American Mag. May 2015 also May 2015 NYC CW
http://americamagazine.org/issue/called-be-saints

In the early years of The Catholic Worker, the newspaper was largely
illustrated with Ade Bethune’s images of the saints. This was not just
for pious decoration. Depicted in modern dress, engaged in the works
of mercy, these figures literally illustrated what the editors were
trying to communicate through words and actions. The saints, as
Dorothy spoke of them, were our friends and companions, examples of
the Gospel in action. She devoted many years to writing a biography of
her favorite saint, Thérèse of Lisieux, exulting in the incredible
speed with which the Little Flower was canonized—a sign that she was
truly “the people’s saint.”

In discussing the saints, Dorothy always acknowledged their humanity,
their capacity for discouragement and sorrow, their mistakes and
failures, along with their courage and faithfulness. There is no doubt
she wished to take them off their pedestals, to show them as human
beings who nevertheless represented in their time the ideals and
spirit of the Gospel.

She was quite aware of the dangers of sentimental hagiography—the
“pious pap” that makes saints seem somehow less than fully human. She
quoted a text about the eating habits of the saints, which read,
“Blessed de Montfort sometimes shed tears and sobbed bitterly when
sitting at table to eat.” To this, she commented, “No wonder no one
wants to be a saint.”

She felt it was important that we tell the stories of “saints as they
really were, as they affected the lives of their times.” But it was
also important to underscore their radical challenge: how St.
Catherine of Siena confronted the pope; how St. Benedict promoted the
spirit of peace; how St. Francis met with the sultan in a mission of
reconciliation.

When Gordon Zahn wrote about his discouragement with the bishops and
their failure to address the Vietnam War, she wrote: “In all history
popes and bishops and father abbots seem to have been blind and power
loving and greedy. I never expected leadership from them. It is the
saints that keep appearing all thru [sic] history who keep things
going.”

Above all, Dorothy believed that the canonized saints were those who
reminded us of our true vocation. “We are all called to be saints,”
she wrote, “and we might as well get over our bourgeois fear of the
name. We might also get used to recognizing the fact that there is
some of the saint in all of us. Inasmuch as we are growing, putting
off the old man and putting on Christ, there is some of the saint, the
holy, the divine right there.” She acknowledged, sadly, that most
people nowadays, “if they were asked, would say diffidently that they
do not profess to be saints, indeed they do not want to be saints. And
yet the saint is the holy man, the ‘whole man,’ the integrated man. We
all wish to be that.”

One of the things that attracted her to St. Thérèse was that in her
Little Way she showed a path of holiness available to all people and
in all circumstances. Dorothy—who was born the same year that Thérèse
died—wished to make known the social implications of the Little Way:
“The significance of our smallest acts! The significance of the little
things we leave undone! The protests we do not make, the stands we do
not take, we who are living in the world.”

A New Kind of Saint

And what of the meaning of saints for the church? It is important to
recognize that in canonizing a saint, the church is not bestowing a
kind of posthumous “honor.” Canonization has no impact or import for
the saint herself. Canonization is really a gift the church makes to
itself. Through recognition of certain individuals—a minuscule number
compared to all those holy men and women known to God—the church is
challenged to enlarge its understanding of the Gospel, to provide new
models that people can relate to, examples who met the challenge of
discipleship in their own time and thus inspire us to do the same.

But as Simone Weil said, it is not nearly enough to be a saint; “We
must have the saintliness demanded by the present moment.” Early in
her life, Dorothy recognized the need for a new kind of saint. Even as
a child she noted how moved she was by the stories of saints who cared
for the poor, the sick, the leper. But another question arose in her
mind: “Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding
it in the first place?... Where were the saints to try to change the
social order, not just to minister to the slaves but to do away with
slavery?” It was a question to be answered with her own life.

In 1932, as she uttered her fateful prayer at the Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception, Dorothy sought an answer about how to integrate
her faith and her commitment to justice and the cause of the
oppressed. She prayed to make a synthesis of “body and soul, this
world and the next.” In effect she was seeking a model for how to
minister to the slaves while also working to do away with slavery.
Many saints had performed the works of mercy and poured themselves out
in charity. By combining her work for justice with the practice of
charity, Dorothy made an enormous gift to the church. No one coming
afterward would have to imagine what such a saint might look like.

But there are other gifts. By far the overwhelming majority of saints,
both in history and in recent times, have been priests and members of
religious orders. Of the 1,000 or so saints beatified or canonized
under Pope John Paul II the majority—apart from martyrs—were founders
or members of religious orders. Arguably, this reinforces the
stereotypical notion that religious life is a prerequisite for
holiness.

Dorothy, in her deeply disciplined life of prayer and participation in
the sacramental life of the church, her embrace of voluntary poverty,
and her spirit of self-sacrifice and loving service, resembles many
saints who went before. Yet as a layperson, as a woman, as an
unmarried mother, as the founder and leader of a lay movement that has
always operated without any official authorization from the church, as
the publisher of a newspaper that presumed to take social positions
far in advance of the magisterium of her time, Dorothy Day represents
quite an unusual—and significant—candidate for canonization.

In her ecumenism, her commitment to liturgical renewal, her
affirmation of religious freedom and the rights of conscience, her
resistance to racism and anti-Semitism, and her prophetic
implementation of the church’s “preferential option for the poor,” she
anticipated so many themes of the Second Vatican Council and the
postconciliar church. And if there is now real thought about her
canonization, it is in part a reflection of how far the church has
traveled in catching up with her witness. That is something to
celebrate.

But there is more. Dorothy was inspired by the Gospel and the lives of
the saints to respond to the needs of her day—both the needs that
everyone could recognize (the Great Depression) but also the needs
that were overlooked by almost everyone else. Dorothy, more than
anyone, helped the church recover the forgotten peace message of
Jesus. She confronted war and violence in all its forms—not just in
words but in prophetic actions. In the purity of her vision and by her
courageous witness she continues to walk ahead, beckoning the church
to follow.

The Symbolism of Sainthood

There are inevitably symbolic or, if you will, political
considerations associated with the making of saints. There is always
the question, what lesson or message does the church wish to impart
through this canonization? The belated recognition of Oscar Romero as
a genuine martyr, and not just a pious churchman, is a significant
example. In naming Romero a martyr who died because of “hatred of the
faith,” the church acknowledges that he did not die for getting mixed
up in politics, as his ecclesial critics charged, but because he
faithfully followed the Gospel. Perhaps it is meaningful that this
pronouncement has awaited the pontificate of Pope Francis. In this
context, Romero walks ahead, beckoning us to fulfill the pope’s vision
of a church that is “poor and for the poor.”

By the same token, I believe this particular ecclesial season provides
a very special context for promoting the canonization of Dorothy Day.
Pope Francis, it seems to me, is the fulfillment of Dorothy’s dreams.
If she had let her imagination run free, she might have conceived of a
pope who took his name from St. Francis, who set out to renew the
church in the image of Jesus, promoting the centrality of mercy,
reconciliation and solidarity with those on the margins. So often she
criticized ecclesial trappings of power and privilege. How she would
have delighted in Francis’ gestures of humility, his call for
shepherds “who have the smell of the sheep,” his washing the feet of
prisoners (including women and Muslims), his tears on the island of
Lampedusa as he contemplated the deaths of nameless immigrants and
lambasted the “culture of indifference.” With her love for the Cuban
people, how she would have rejoiced in his role in overcoming decades
of intransigent enmity between the U.S. and Cuban governments. How, on
the eve of an imminent war with Syria, she would have eagerly
accompanied him in his vigil for peace. How moved she would be to
learn of his deep friendship with a Jewish rabbi, his love for opera
and Dostoevsky, and his exhortation to spread the “joy of the Gospel.”

Some have suggested that the new atmosphere under Pope Francis has put
wind in the sails of Dorothy’s canonization. But I would put it
another way. I think the cause of Dorothy’s canonization helps put
wind in the sails of the pope’s agenda. Support for her cause, in this
context, means more than keeping her memory alive. It contributes to
the ongoing program of renewal of the church—not for its own sake but
for the sake of a wounded world.

What of the concerns that canonization will cause her witness to be
watered down and homogenized? I think her full story—so inseparable
from her “message”—is clear and widely available. To be sure, there
has at times been a tendency on the part of some to put all too much
emphasis on her abortion, to make that experience a central feature in
the narrative of her journey from “sinner to saint.” In fact, as we
know, the driving force of Dorothy’s conversion was not shame over her
sins but gratitude for God’s grace. The turning point in her story was
not her abortion but the experience of becoming pregnant and giving
birth. In the end, I believe that canonization is the best insurance
that her story and the distinctive features of her holiness will be
remembered—not just in our time but far from now in the future. Just
as the beatification of Franz Jägerstätter lifts up the memory of his
“solitary witness,” so I believe the canonization process for Dorothy
Day will spread the story of her going to jail to protest civil
defense drills and the blasphemy of all preparations for nuclear war.
It will move her witness from the margins to the center of the
church’s memory.

The Making of a Legend

Of course, we regularly witness the domestication of radical prophets.
Francis of Assisi becomes the patron saint of bird baths. Martin
Luther King Jr. is universally remembered for his “dream” of a
post-racial America—but not for his critique of militarism and
capitalism. Dorothy Day is hardly exempt from this danger. Even while
she lived, Dorothy had to confront pious legend-making. She upbraided
Catherine de Hueck Doherty for promoting the myth that she shared her
bed with a syphilitic homeless woman. (Dorothy retorted, “I can’t even
sleep with my daughter, she wiggles too much!”) She was exasperated
with people who asked if she bore the stigmata or enjoyed visions.
(“Just visions of dirty dishes and unpaid bills!”) With or without
canonization, some people will always prefer the myth. The answer, I
think, is not to reject her canonization, but to assume the task of
proclaiming her story with all its radical edges, making sure that
nothing of her humanity is discarded.

But didn’t Dorothy say, “Don’t call me a saint; I don’t want to be
dismissed so easily”? I am astonished that so many people—even those
who would be hard-pressed to come up with another quote—can recite
those words (though their exact source is unclear). A real saint could
hardly have said otherwise. But in Dorothy’s case, this was more than
humility. She worried that people would put her up on a pedestal, that
they would believe her to be without faults, imagining that if she
performed seemingly difficult things, it was because they were not
really difficult for her—she, after all, being a saint. She felt this
was a way for people to dismiss her witness and let themselves off the
hook. She didn’t believe she was better than other people. She didn’t
believe people should set out to imitate her. They should look to
Christ as their model. All Christians were called to “put off the old
person and put on Christ,” to conform their lives to the pattern of
the Gospel, to respond to their own call to holiness—whatever form
that might take.

I once heard her say, “When they call you a saint, it means basically
that you are not to be taken seriously.” But when Dorothy used the
word saint, she certainly wasn’t indicating someone to be dismissed
easily; on the contrary, a saint was someone to be taken with the
utmost seriousness.

Still, there is a natural cynicism that arises in relation to this
process, with all its elaborate bureaucracy, protocol and, yes,
expense. Ken Woodward, in Making Saints, acknowledged this issue in
his chapter on Dorothy Day. Whereas the usual question with regard to
a potential saint is whether the candidate is worthy of the process,
in the case of Dorothy Day there is a suspicion that the process is
not worthy of her. Perhaps, some might say, it is better that she
remain a “people’s saint”—not an officially canonized figure.

Before initiating her cause, Cardinal O’Connor conducted a series of
conversations with people who knew her (sadly, many of them no longer
with us). I was privileged to be part of those discussions. I was
deeply moved by Cardinal O’Connor’s humility in discussing his
admiration for a woman he had never met. He took the discussion very
seriously, noting that if God meant for Dorothy to be called a saint,
he could not live with himself if he had stood in the way. But at the
same time he made it clear what it meant if we proceeded:
canonization, he noted, is a “process of the church.” If we weren’t
comfortable with that, he said, there was no point in going forward.
Those present, who included many of Dorothy’s close friends and
associates, listened to what he said; none of us raised an objection.

Since then it has become clearer that there are in fact significant
expenses involved in pursuing the lengthy process of
canonization—legal fees, the costs of official transcripts and such.
The Archdiocese of New York has made a sizeable contribution; other
funds will be raised by the Dorothy Day Guild, without any impact on
contributions intended for the Catholic Worker.

We may stand aloof from her canonization on the grounds that she is
“too good” for this process. But if we do, we should probably
recognize that this is not an attitude Dorothy would be inclined to
share. She certainly challenged and criticized the church for its
failings. It was, as she liked to quote Romano Guardini, “the cross on
which Christ was crucified.” But for her the church was the mystical
body of Christ, of which she was also a member. She had enough
knowledge of her own sins and failings to include herself among all
those called to penance and conversion.

The story of Dorothy is becoming known around the world. In the United
States she is undoubtedly more widely known and respected than at any
time since her death, or even in her lifetime. In recent years stories
about her have appeared in almost every Catholic magazine, and many
conferences have focused on her thought. Some may worry that Dorothy
is being appropriated by elements in the church that do not share all
her radical positions. It became clear to me long ago that Dorothy did
not “belong” just to the Catholic peace movement, any more than she
belongs solely to the Catholic Worker movement. I frankly welcome the
occasion she offers to unite disparate and sometimes polarized
elements in the church.

But ultimately the question of Dorothy’s canonization is not about
drawing greater attention to her, but whether, through her witness,
more attention will be drawn to Jesus and more people will be inspired
to comprehend and joyfully embrace his message of radical love. I
believe the answer is yes. That is why I support her canonization.

Robert Ellsberg is the editor in chief and publisher of Orbis Books.
From 1976 to 1978 he was the managing editor of The Catholic Worker,
where he served alongside Dorothy Day. This article is adapted from an
article in the May 2015 issue of The Catholic Worker.


ROBERT ELLSBERG,Publisher
Orbis Books
Box 302
Maryknoll, NY 10545
tel: 914-941-7636 x 2210


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Saturday, April 11, 2015

St. Patrick: 'Killing is not of Christ' Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy to Lead a Retreat, 'The Nonviolent Jesus: His Nonviolent Way of Love, ' April 17-18

       Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, an Eastern right Byzantine priest, is coming to Columbus to give a retreat entitled "The Nonviolent Jesus: His Nonviolent Way of Love'" on April 17 and 18, Friday and Saturday, at St. John Crysostom Catholic Church, 58582 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus Ohio.  Contact Samuel at (614) 286-0921 or samueldean9@yahoo.com.
      He is the author of the multi-series tapes given to me by a former priest at Christ the King Church to be put to good use entitled, "Boldly Like God, Go Against the Swords."  He was also the one, according to my father, peace activist Tom Siemer, who completely "converted" the heart of a military chaplain over those who obliterated the entire cities of innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II.  That chaplain was Fr. George Zabelka, a very dear friend of my father's, who marched with him across Ohio in the early 80's for the Nuclear Freeze Movement (I will post a picture of my father and Fr. Zabelka when I find it!).
      The story goes that Rev. McCarthy explained how many modern wars were Christians killing Christians, which is detailed in another article on this site.  What is our mark that sets us apart in the world?  The only time in the entire New Testament that Jesus used the wording that this particular act will make you to specifically be called children of God is to love our enemies (at the personal, and country level).  The single most popular article on this site of nearly 30,000 viewers is a shortened repost of McCarthy's famous article written at the 25 anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., at the 45 anniversary.  It is called: "Christian Nonviolence (MLK): Rabbi Heschel Implored to Heed the Prophetic Voice of Dr. Martin Luther King."
      What a blessing to Columbus Catholics and others!  Thank You, Jesus!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Purify the Catholic Worker, Jesus, to be the Diamond of Its Founders

By Monica,  The Lamb Catholic Worker, Columbus, Ohio

The "Collect" of the Divine Office in the Lauds for yesterday was:

"True light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ,
as you enlighten all men for their salvation,
give us grace, we pray,
to herald your coming
by preparing the ways of justice and peace."

       Many have believed, in recent years, that we are near Judgment Day (a concept believed by all Christians and Muslims of the world), or the end times, just after the rapture as Jesus described. It will come like a thief in the night. He explained that at this point, it will be sudden and two men will be working on the roof; one will be instantly taken, one will be left.  Two women will be making bread; one will be taken, one will be left.  This is to precede and spare His followers from the terrible things described by Christ in the Gospels (wanting the mountains to fall on us ...) and by St. John in his visions as told in the book of Revelations.
       Whether the time is soon or whether we have another thousand years, we are to live as if each day were our last in service to our sweet Savior, Jesus.  As I ponder the Collect above from yesterday, what comes to mind is, if we are nearing the end or even not, how exquisite a diamond Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin created, lived, and ushered into the world this last century - and to the Catholic Church especially - "heralding your [Christ's second] coming by preparing the ways of justice and peace" in the Catholic Worker movement. To sum it up for those who are not familiar, how they envisioned, dreamed and modeled the Catholic Worker ideals is as close to living the loving life of the early Church, on fire for Jesus, enflamed by the Holy Spirit, and engulfed in "profound poverty and profound joy", as you can possibly get.  And this is done mostly by lay people!
       Peter always said not to call him radical, but simply Catholic.  To him to be Catholic means to be radical, meaning going back to our roots ("radish" has the same stem) closest in timeline to Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church as possible, where the Way of Jesus was lived out most purely. It was an era  closest to Truth itself, which is Christ, and closest to those people who lived it out most fully.  Just as the Church has recently been moved by the Holy Spirit to correct, or embrace the actual wording of prayers and responses more accurate to what they were (and were always meant to be) in revising our modern liturgy to make it more authentic, so Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin redirected the living out of what it means to be Catholic, focusing on authenticity to Christ, His Apostles, and the Early Church.  Fr. Robert Barron emphasizes this as well - to be radical as Jesus was radical - in his Catholicism series (where he highlights the Catholic Worker in one of the CDs).
      My prayer this lenten season is for a purification of myself, as a marshmallow over flames, to become a more loving, gentle, kind, and compassionate Catholic Worker attempting to always do His bidding.  It is also for a purification of all Catholic Workers as well as of the Catholic Worker Movement, all those trying to live out Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin's vision: embracing Lady Poverty, intertwining with the poorest of the poor in a loving vibrant community, and promoting the TRUE sacredness and sanctity of ALL human life and lives in their pacifism (as the early Church did for the first 300 years, unbroken).
      Both founders embraced their Catholicism whole-heartedly and passionately, Peter having lived with the Christian Brothers for years before, and Dorothy becoming a Benedictine Oblate.  Daily both strived to receive consecrated bread and wine - Jesus' own real flesh and real blood, of the holy sacrifice of the Mass to feed and invigorate them; as well as to be fed on the Word there, which is Christ, in order to daily direct their paths.  They prayed the rosary daily for the powerful intercession of Mother Mary, strived to get to confession often (Dorothy once a week), and to meditate, read, pray, and converse in a multitude of other ways - focused on God, on community, on the poor, and on peace.
     As quoted in the lenten issue of "The Word Among us," Dorothy's top theme in all she strived for is of profound love, lived out in community:
"True love is delicate and kind, full of gentle
 perception and understanding,
 full of beauty and grace ....
There should be some flavor of this
 in all our love for others.
We are all one.
We are one flesh, in the Mystical Body,
as a man and woman are said to be
one flesh in marriage.
With such a love one would
 see all things new;
we would begin to see people
as they really are, as God sees them."

       Pray for me as I offer any and all suffering associated with a live liver transplant I am undergoing for a very dear close relative!  I offer it up to purify the Catholic Workers' witness to the world, for the Lamb Catholic Worker here in Columbus to begin, for intentions toward a child of mine, for women and children of foreign descent especially with nowhere else to turn, and especially, for the canonization of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin.  It is also for several other people who need sacrifices for bigger problems.
      True story.  My spiritual director, Msgr. Marv Mottet, has had to listen to my laments about why God is not sending workers in the field, or the funding, or the properties, or support for this vision of a multi-house Catholic Worker community in Columbus for battered women and children of foreign descent (mainly but not exclusively). About three years ago when lamenting, he answered:  "Do you know the story about St. Charles de Foucauld?" He went on to explain that he wanted to found a
St. Charles de Foucauld
Hermitage of St. Charles de Foucauld


  new religious community in a certain spot, in Algiers, Northern Africa.  He worked hard toward it, prayed hard, wrote often about it, solicited support, and spoke to anyone who would listen.  Eventually, he was martyred before it came into being.  Afterward, three opened, forming the "Little Brothers of Jesus," from the writings of St. Charles de Foucauld.
     I asked Msgr. Mottet if I had to then get hit by a bus before this can begin (!). The seeds of the blood of the martyrs are one of the most powerful means for God to work.  Soo, as one could guess, I tried every other possible way to help God to get this going.  I will not go into it all, but when I hit a point in late November/early December, 2014, I lamented again why did God say to ask the harvest master for more workers in the field if He was not going to send them -- for years -- even after praying, trusting, asking, pleading, etc.?  That St. Charles de Foucauld story came to mind immediately.  I almost as immediately said, "Yes, I say yes to even this, now." A rush of great peace and grace flooded me, unexplainably, at that moment.  I feel this may be His plan. I voiced my "Yes" to Fr. David Schalk at the time - that I fully say yes if this is what is being asked of me by God.  About one month later I found out about this live liver donor program for me to give up to 69% of my liver to a family member in end stages liver disease.  It will most likely go very well, with a 100% survival rate for donors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  For all other hospitals that do this newer procedure, I was told by the Mayo clinic, there is a 1 to 200 to 1 to 300 ratio of dying for the donor.  Either way, it is a win-win for my relative and for The Lamb Catholic Worker!  Pray for me, please, and especially for my nephew.
      Here is a gift before signing off.  It the Sonia Salas version of "Shepherd Me, O God":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXS3L-sdfPA

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ex-Marine's "American Sniper" Reflections

In the spirit of Pope John Paul II who wrote that "any and all pre-emptive [first strike] wars are immoral," in addition to his words that the Iraqi War was NOT legally nor morally justified, we reprint the article, "Former Marine on Chris Kyle, American Sniper, and Social Implications" posted on January 27, 2015 on Washington's Blog by Robert Barsocchini.

Ross Caputi, a former marine who participated in the US’s second siege of Fallujah, writes that the reason the American Sniper book and film have been so successful is that they “tell us exactly what we want to hear”: that US America is “benevolent” and “righteous”.  That, he says, is why the book and film are so popular; their popularity speaks volumes about US society, and signals more danger ahead for the rest of the world.

The killings for which Chris Kyle is idolized, Caputi notes, were perpetrated during his participation in the second US siege of Fallujah, which Caputi, from firsthand knowledge, calls an “atrocity”.

Specifically of the siege, Caputi notes:

“All military aged males were forced to stay within the city limits of Fallujah” [while women and children were warned to flee through the desert on foot]
“…an estimated 50,000 civilians were trapped in [Fallujah] during this month long siege without water” [since the US had cut off water and electricity to the city]
“…almost no effort was taken to make a distinction between civilian men and combatants. In fact, in many instances civilians and combatants were deliberately conflated.”
“The US did not treat military action [against Fallujah] as a last resort. The peace negotiations with the leadership in Fallujah were canceled by the US.”
“[The US] killed between 4,000 to 6,000 civilians, displaced 200,000, and may have created an epidemic of birth defects and cancers“
“[The siege was] conducted with indiscriminate tactics and weapons, like the use of reconnaissance-by-fire, white phosphorous, and the bombing of residential neighborhoods. The main hospital was also treated as a military target.”
In modest conformity with international law originally flowing from the Nuremberg tribunal, he says that neither he or Kyle should receive any “praise or recognition” for their actions against Iraq.

Further, he notes that Clint Eastwood, director of the American Sniper movie, made many changes to Kyle’s accounts of what happened.  For one, Kyle, in his autobiography, recounts shooting a woman who was taking the legal action of throwing a grenade at invading forces.  Eastwood changes this so that the woman gives the grenade to her child to throw at the invaders.  “Did Clint Eastwood think that this is a more representative portrayal of the Iraqi resistance?” Caputi asks. “It’s not.”  (Caputi gives Eastwood the benefit of our lack of knowledge of his thought process; he could have asked if Eastwood did this to try to dehumanize Iraqi mothers or Iraqis in general, or whip up US American xenophobic hatred of foreigners, a not-so-difficult feat which Eastwood accomplished with flying colors.  See The Guardian’s “American Sniper: Anti-Muslim Threats Skyrocket in Wake of Film’s Release“; many who see the film “emerge from theatres desperate to communicate a kind of murderous desire.”)

The US invasion of Iraq, Caputi concludes, was “the imposition of a political and economic project against the will of the majority of Iraqis. … We had no right to invade a sovereign nation, occupy it against the will of the majority of its citizens, and patrol their streets.”

Caputi “holds an MA in Linguistics and … is working on an MA in English Studies at Fitchburg State University.”

Also see Professor of International Affairs Sophia A. McClennan’s piece, where she says the American Sniper movie is “a terrifying glimpse” of a “mind-set that couples delusion with violence”.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pope Francis, Dear Papa, Please Canonize Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, and Oscar Romero, Modern Day Champions for the Poor!

By Monica, The Lamb Catholic Worker, Columbus, Ohio - Dorothy Day was a Benedictine Oblate and in this Year of the Consecrated Life, how powerful and catalytic it would be for teenagers and adults of all ages to see canonized two lay people who have lived exemplary, prayerful lives to the level of priests and sisters.  My prayer is that Dorothy and Peter are joined with Archbishop Oscar Romero, another champion for the poor in the same era, who was recently (January 15) deemed an official martyr of the Church, to be recognized in this manner.  Thank you, dear Papa, for declaring Archbishop Romero a martyr.

"We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
― Dorothy DayThe Long Loneliness

"When we die we carry under our arm what we gave to the poor."
- Peter Maurin 

      One last note is on Benedictine Oblates, or Third Order Benedictines.  You commit to quite a rigorous and edifying prayer life, praying the Divine Office daily in addition to other things.  Amazingly, even though so rooted in rich Catholic tradition, it is humbly and ecumenically non-denominational.  I love that!  You go through a particular abbey, becoming somewhat one in communion with them, and meet monthly with others like yourself in your hometown, have Benedictine priests and monks come to join your groups at times, and go to retreats a couple times a year with the ultimate goal of seeking the presence of God every day.
      You can be as young as 15, which is also an exquisite feature.  You go through a year Novitiate, trying it out and seeing if it is for you, and then you commit.  Yes, you can marry if you have begun this as a single person.  What an incredible, solid faith-filled community of people you would be sharing your life with, sistered with an extraordinary group of prayerful men, the Benedictines.  I am beginning the process through St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, since it is close and my beloved pastor, Fr. David Schalk, was in seminary there.  Pray for me, please.  Already I feel the tug away, and understand why St. Benedict himself, wanting to bring monasticism to the world, felt such a forceful level of resistance from Satan that he was given by God the powerful prayers of the Benedictine cross and medal for protection! I have given hundreds of these away in the course of my lifetime to put under loved ones beds, T.V.s, computers, in cars, wallets, and purses, on desks, keychains, etc. not knowing I would one day become a Benedictine Oblate! I had never heard of one, nor even knew that Dorothy Day was a faithful one, Catholic Worker that I am.  What an accomplished orchestrator God is in our lives!
     Use any tool possible to keep Satan and his evil spirits away, who do indeed prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Someone scoffed at this recently and said, "Yeah, but we have God," meaning we do not need these things because God is on our side.  Observe how many, many times Jesus had to order Satan to get behind him!  It doesn't just happen, we have to call on Jesus often to get Satan behind and away from us when tempted away from His will and His plan for our lives.
      Finally, we encourage everyone here in the U.S. who are movie-goers to see the movie, " Old -Fashioned" purposely premiering on Valentine's Day to counter the movie, "50 Shades of Grey."  We need more Benedictine Oblates in the world!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pope Francis,'..That Nuclear Weapons are Banned Once and For All' Dec. 7, 2014

  THE WAY OF THE LAMB  

   Winter 2014-15  Newsletter of The Lamb Catholic Worker

  By Monica Siemer
    We at The Lamb Catholic Worker (Columbus, Ohio) are giving top priority of our winter newsletter to the peace message of Pope Francis on December 7, 2014 to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.  The text in its entirety is below, the transcript from Vatican Radio (search: "news.va" and look for the Vatican seal to view what our beloved Pope has to teach- you sometimes will not find the "harder lessons" in some of the national or local Catholic papers).  This message would be fitting to publish across the land on January 1st, World Peace Day in the Catholic Church as well as Queenship of Mary, (Queen of Peace).
       "Nuclear weapons are a global problem affecting all nations and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home. A global ethic is needed if we are to reduce the threat and work towards nuclear disarmament. Now, more than ever, technological, social and political interdependence urgently calls for ethic of solidarity (cf John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38), which encourages people to work together for a more secure world, and a future that is increasingly rooted in moral values and responsibility on a global scale."

        "The humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons are predictable and planetary. While the focus is often placed on nuclear weapons' potential for mass killing, more attention must be given to the “unnecessary suffering” brought on by their use Military codes and international law, among others, have long banned peoples from inflicting unnecessary suffering. If such suffering is banned in the waging of conventional war, then it should all the more be banned in nuclear conflict. There are those among us who are victims of these weapons [Hibakusha – Japanese survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII], as well as other victims of nuclear weapons testing who are present at this meeting. I encourage them all to be prophetic voices, calling the human family to a deeper appreciation of beauty, love, cooperation and fraternity, while reminding the world of the risks of nuclear weapons which have the potential to destroy us and civilization."
        "Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethic of fr aternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states. Then youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more. They deserve a peaceful world order based on the unity of the human family, grounded in respect, cooperation, solidarity and compassion. Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethics of responsibility, and so foster climate of trust and sincere dialogue."
        "Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of the nations. To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price."
        "The desire for peace, security and stability is one of the deepest longings of the human heart. It is rooted in the Creator who makes all people members of the one human family. This desire can never be satisfied by military means alone, much less the possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Peace cannot 'be reduced solely to maintain a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship' (Gaudium et Spes, 78). Peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, the participation of all in public affairs and the building of trust between peoples. Pope Paul VI stated this succinctly in his encyclical, Populorum Progressio: 'Development is the new name for peace' (76). It is incumbent on us to adopt concrete actions which promote peace and security, while remaining always aware of the limitation of short-sighted approaches to problems of national and international security. We must be profoundly committed to strengthening mutual trust, for only through such trust can true and lasting peace among nations be established (cf John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 113)."
        "In the context of this conference, I wish to encourage sincere and open dialogue between parties internal to each nuclear state, between various nuclear states, and between nuclear states and non-nuclear states. This dialogue must be inclusive, involving international organizations, religious communities and civil society, and oriented towards the common good and not the protection of vested interests. 'A world without nuclear weapons' is a goal shared by all nationals and echoed by world leaders, as well as the aspiration of millions of men and women. The future and the survival of the human family hinges on moving beyond this ideal and ensuring that it becomes a reality."
        "I am convinced that the desire for peace and for paternity deep in the human heart will bear fruit in concrete ways to ensure that nuclear weapons are banned once and for all, to the benefit of our common home. The security of our own future depends on guaranteeing the peaceful security of others, for if peace, security and stability are not established globally, they will not be enjoyed at all. Individually and collectively, we are responsible for the present and future well-being of our brothers and sisters. It is my great hope that this responsibility will inform our efforts in favor of nuclear disarmament, for a world without nuclear weapons is truly possible."
"From the Vatican December 7, 2014
Francis"
       It has been said that the greatest act of God is not in suffering so horrific and torturous a death for our sins and salvation, but the most profound act of all was in coming down from His glorious throne to become a human.  It is like one of us choosing to become a stinkbug, living among the others, attacking each other at times, and going off to live solitary lives alone in our aimless instinctive ways, ruled by our emotions and wants. In this great season commemorating our sweet Savior in His infancy, may we appreciate the great act this was, of our tender amazing Creator taking on our human form and becoming one with us!
"Incarnation"  by Fritz Eichenberg, Catholic Worker Artist
       Many of our advent daily mass readings involve expectant waiting and being alert, being awake to His surprise coming at any moment of any day.  Fr. Sylvester said that in this period of expectant waiting we love ourselves, we love our neighbor, and we love our God. To do this we have to forgive ourselves, our neighbor, and even our God at times, when we are perplexed about the happenings in our lives and our relationship with Him. We then begin to be reconciled with ourselves, our neighbor, and our God.  How do we do this and allow God to work on our hearts - through prayer!  Saint Padre Pio said that "Prayer is oxygen to the soul!" Keep searching, experimenting, and being open in ways you never have been, and giving different forms of prayer a good shot.  So many of our saints prayed in such an array of differing ways with different devotions that fed them!  That is the dazzling beauty of the Catholic Church!  "Catholic" means universal and there are so many multi-faceted approaches to the same Catholic faith, different spiritualities contributing to this most exquisite Bride of Christ (as He called her).
        I was able to see this most clearly at the Thomas Merton conference October 24 and 25 called, "Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest - 1964-2014."  It was in commemoration of Merton's famous retreat at Gethsemani that he organized many spiritual giants from several religions to help address the growing violence in the country and at the hands of our country (Vietnam War).  Merton himself was quite a conglomerate and paradox of maintaining the roots of the traditional and opening up to the Holy Spirit's new movings - as Christ had modeled in His time on Earth. There were people from all over the United States from several different religions who knew "truth" when they were beaconed toward it (in coming).  Fr. Robert Barron, in his 10 CD "Catholicism" series builds one CD around who Thomas Merton was, or Brother Louis, and then which saint impacted him the most, and so on.
       Here was Merton's spirit on entering the Trappist monastery at Gethsemani: "...as soon as Merton stepped into the halls of the monastery it was clear where he had arrived. 'I felt the deep, deep silence of the night,' he wrote, 'and of peace, and of holiness enfold me like love, like safety."  "... the embrace of it, the silence!  I had entered into a solitude that was an impregnable fortress.  And the silence that enfolded me, spoke to me, and spoke louder and more eloquently than any voice, ...in the middle of the quiet, clean-smelling room, with the noon pouring its peacefulness in through the open window, with the warm night air, I realized truly whose house that was, O glorious Mother of God!"  Yes, Merton had an extremely close relationship with Mary, or who he called "Lady" many times.
Fr. Daniel Berrigan and Thomas Merton (Brother Louis) 
        One person at that retreat 50 years ago, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, was recently asked what one thing he is most proud of in His life, over which he has no regrets.  His answer to the interviewer without skipping a beat was, "My Jesuit priesthood."  As many people associate pacifist peace activists with lawlessness and rebellion, these two pillars of the Catholic peace movement, in addition to another Jesuit, Richard T. McSorley, have more than shown and proven their love and dedication to Christ and to His most beloved Bride, the Roman Catholic Church, unbroken in its chain of direction from Christ to St. Peter's all the way to Pope Francis. On that note, here are two last gifts to you, for this Christmas season.  The first is my favorite prayer that Thomas Merton wrote, and the second is one from St. Nicholas Flue.
Grounds of the Abbey at Gethsemani on my silent retreat





At the grave site of Thomas Merton, Brother Louis


My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going. 
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will
end.  Nor do I really know myself, and
the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually
doing so.  But I believe that the desire 
please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I
am doing.  I hope that I will never do any-
thing apart from that desire.  And I know 
that if I do this you will lead me by the
right road, though I may know nothing
about it.  Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and
in the shadow of death.  I will not fear,
for you are ever with me, and you will
never leave me to face my perils alone."
                                       -Thomas Merton


"My Lord and My God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and My God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and My God, detach me from myself to give my all to you. Amen."                  - St. Nicholas of Flue
      We have no news to tell at The Lamb Catholic Worker in terms of our mission and service to the poor, besides being at around 25,000 views online, which is a very good thing.  The word is getting out and the interest is definitely there, especially among people I see.  I have had priests want me to come and give a talk, but I say that I have nothing to talk about yet - it is coming though!  We are in dire need of workers, of funds, and of support - especially becoming a "Sick and Suffering Co-Catholic Worker" willing to offer your suffering up for those of us trying hard to begin this Catholic Worker.  We do wait though in joyful, expectant hope, the central message of Advent season!  Our spirits are not daunted even if this will take longer. We wait in expectant, eager hope for this mission and vision to begin.  We will wait on the Lord.  He "does not delay."  His timing is perfect. Please pray for us.  Mother Mary, St. Joseph, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, please pray for us.
       One last note is that we want to show you another Catholic Worker and writings of a few Catholic Worker priests in this "Little Way" Durham N.C. Catholic Worker newsletter:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

 The Lamb Catholic Worker
Fall 2014 Newsletter

"We Want Peace! We Want Peace!" 
             -An Iraqi-American Catholic woman at the Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio August 14, the Vigil of Feast of the Assumption of Mary
                                                                   By Monica Siemer

Chaldean Masses (about 10 in one day) at Our Lady
of Consolation Shrine in Carey
Beautiful "halo" around Fr. John Stowe and My Friend,
not seen through the lense, but appeared in the picture
     I had the priviledge of accompanying a dear Syrian Muslim friend who has lived in the United States for 20 years (and was my former instructional assistant in my ESL classroom) to the Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio on the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, August 14.  This was a very special day, a day of the "Chaldean masses," about 10 masses in the upper and lower chapels, to celebrate this special Marian feast day vigil for the Iraqi and other middle-eastern Catholics that live in several states nearest to this most holy shrine to Mary.  They have a special love and affinity for our Lady and I am amazed at the outpouring of love that the Franciscans there extend to this most beloved community, especially in light of the heavy persecution going on in parts of Iraq right now. 
       I took my friend because she is a walking miracle, attributed to the heavy-duty intercessory prayers of Mary, or "Mariam" to the Muslim world, Jesus' mother, Dorothy Day, and Peter Maurin. She was told two years ago, August of 2012, by Mt. Carmel doctors (a Catholic hospital) that she could have no more chemo and radiation and to make her [final] arrangements.  Previously, at about 35,  she had had breast cancer, surgery, radiation, and chemo, and went to Haj at Mecca (because her case was so serious).  Approximately 1 and a half to two years passed where she felt she had been healed. 
      In late 2012 though, it had come back with a vengeance, to her brain (paralyzing half of her face so that she could not consciously shut her left eye nor smile with the left side of her face), her bones, her liver and her thyroid glands.  This was very late stages cancer, and once it gains in the soft tissue of critical areas, it grows quickly.  At this time I asked her to ask Mariam, or Mother Mary, for help to bring it before God (our Catechism teaches that it is the same God as Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.  Also, "Allah" is simply the word for "God"), and to ask for Dorothy Day's prayers as well, to help attain her canonization.  I asked her to go to Carey then, but she had switched doctors to Ohio State University cancer hospitals and was given new chemo (even though they said the same thing). 
Coworkers from Cranbrook Elementary at chemo
Dec. 2012,  Face half paralyzed, I am at right
      Finally, by December of 2012 when she could not go to Carey after repeated attempts, I went in proxy for her and Fr. John Stowe prayed over my body in place of hers for her healing, and involved the other Franciscans in praying heavily for her, asking Mary and Dorothy Day's intercessory prayers.  They have a lot of time to pray (seven times a day!).  I also obtained the amazing holy water from Carey too.  She used it every day, and in five months, she was still alive, her liver cancer had shrunk in half, and her face was no longer paralyzed.  She could shut both eyes at will and with effort, smile, although the paralysis had caused some permanent damage so it was with difficulty.
  
      Satan had continued to bite at her heals, as he has all along (to mine as well), and a spinal tumor grew and paralyzed her whole leg in June of 2013.   She and I had lulled a little in daily pleading her case to Mary and Dorothy, and she had run out of holy water and did not tell me.  I raced to get more holy water (this time from Christ the King), and we asked Peter Maurin's intercessory prayers as well.  Msgr. Mottet, overseeing this community, has always prayed that Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, co-founders of the Catholic Worker Movement, would be canonized together.  Dorothy always said that Peter founded the Catholic Worker, not her, and that it was his vision, his ideas, his everything.  He only lived to see it take off for 15 years while she did for almost 50 (and as a prolific writer).  People attribute the Catholic Worker solely to her, but both need to be honored for their holiness.
       The doctors have been saying for that past year or so that my friend still has the cancer but that she is a "Mystery," a "Mystery..."  Why will this woman not die, really!  I said, "You are another "M" word; you are a MIRACLE!"  
       The beauty in all of this is that while she is a practicing Muslim, Our Lady, "Mariam," has looked down upon her with great love just as she is, as she does to all in the world.  All can come to this most amazing vessel of love and motherliness.  In fact, Fr. Emmanuel Bertrand, a Dominican missionary to Pakistan (for over 40 years) in community with the Dominicans at St. Patrick and St. Thomas Aquinas in Zanesville has visited nearly all the mosques in Pakistan and said that 100% of them have a statue to "Mariam," or Jesus' mother.  They honor and revere her sometimes more than Catholics do!  It is also moving that Mary chose to visit, or God chose to send her, to a city named after a very holy Muslim woman, one of Mohommed's daughters, Fatima.  Interestingly, Mother Mary was once quoted at Medjugorie as stating: "The holiest woman in this city is a Muslim.  She gets down on her knees every day in humility, ...." Finally, it is exquisite that Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, genuine peacemakers who TRULY believe in the sacredness of ALL human life and lives are to be possibly canonized in part by a miracle of a practicing Muslim woman.  It is beautiful, then that my friend wants to tell people about "this place."
       The first thing greeting my friend as we approached the actual basilica was the most, most beloved Fr. John Stowe who has prayed for her ceaselessly.  
           
      While she did not want to go into the upper church during a mass, she wanted to go into the basement to see evidence of the many, many miracles that have happened through Mary's intercession.  When I was a child, the large basement was overflowing with these, but they  have limited them to a few cases.


          Outside, she witnessed gentle, holy older Franciscans, mostly with grey beards, hearing confessions and giving council to people in numerous stations around the lawn.  She rested on the bench outside, having undergone hours of chemo that morning, to the powerful and booming voices through the windows, of the Chaldean Catholics inside singing praises.  She witnessed another religion not her own, that also ministered and guided people.  
           We had been approached at one point, in the midst of the Arabic being spoken all around her from approx. 20 van lines of out-of-state middle-eastern Catholics, by an Arabic-speaking woman.  She stated emphatically and almost woefully, "We want peace!  We want peace!" It was probably the fervent prayer inside as well. I am thinking this may be because the U.S. is sending more troops into Iraq and planning to bomb certain places.  She seemed desperate to say not to have that war mentality again that desecrated their home country once.
          Her desperation reminded me of a conversation my father, Tom Siemer, had with Archbishop Oscar Romero less than a year before he was assassinated. We were at a synod of all of the cardinals and bishops of the world in Mexico City, I believe it was in 1979 when I was 16 yrs old (and I was there but standing away from him). We were appealing to Pope John Paul II for Catholics to be told to have no part in weapons of mass destruction (manufacturing, handling, potential use, etc).  Archbishop Romero thought my father was from the press (with his "Press" badge) and begged and begged him to go back and tell the president (Carter at the time, who gave $5 million per year in "military aid") to stop funding the government with military money, which was being used against the people. 
       He explained that the money went into armaments and training of the soldiers in the military and in the juntas of the oligarchy who were terrorizing the campesinos, killing and mutilating many of them. 
        My father called over both Roy Larson, of the Chicago Sun and Ken Briggs of the New York Times to talk with him.  Ken told my father later that Romero would not live long by talking like that, and my father replied, "They would never kill an archbishop!"  Our government not only did not listen, but when President Ronald Reagan became president, shortly after, he quintupled the funding, giving a huge green light to those committing atrocities.  Archbishop Oscar Romero was martyred within a year. The U.N. reports that over 75,000 people, many poor women and children, were killed over the course of the next decade or so in El Salvador.   
In front of the Synod, Mexico City, 1979, with a group of protesting mothers of the "Disappeared" in El Salvador.  I am at the right and my mother, Dorothy Siemer, at the far right in red pants.

Salvadorean mothers of the "disappeared," those whose tortured bodies were never found.  I am on far right, with literature for the Pope, cardinals, bishops, and press against weapons of mass destruction
Mothers of the "disappeared" (sons, husbands, brothers, etc) desperate for help from the Church.

My father, Tom Siemer, and I in Mexico City, 1979
         A few years later I worked at the Center for Peace Studies at Georgetown University with Fr. Richard McSorley, S.J.  At that time another Georgetown professor, Dr. Jean Kirkepatrick, who was a campaign advisor to President Reagan then cabinet member, blamed the murders (Dec. 2, 1980) of the three religious sisters and an American lay worker on themselves for even being there with the poor: Jean Donovan, Sr. Maura Clarke, Sr. Ita Ford, and Sr. Dorothy Kazel.  Kirkpatrick believed that, according to Noam Chomsky, "traditional authoritarian governments are less repressive than revolutionary autocracies," and so her views were put into practice "most clearly in Central America, by supporting the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, and the military juntas in Guatemala and El Salvador, all of which perpetrated massive human rights violations while countering a perceived communist threat." (Chomsky, Turning the Tide, 1985).  She was not too thrilled when the United Nations Security Council came down on the United States and she talked of withdrawing much of the monetary support to the U.N., as well as for the United States to withdraw completely. This would have been quite a role model of genuine virtue, Christian values, and peace to the world.
       I witnessed firsthand large graphic close-up pictures being sent to the Center for Peace Studies at Georgetown University (that I helped Fr. Richard McSorley, S.J. run in the 80's) from El Salvador.  Neutral brave witnesses and groups were trying hard to document the atrocities and sent these pictures to several places as documentation, including to ours.  Prior to the Reagan Administration, the bodies of the dead at the hands of the military and juntas had one form of killing done to them (besides the women always having been raped).  As Fr. McSorley always said, "When you choose the lesser of two evils, you soon forget you chose evil in the first place."  There is always a third choice.
       When Ronald Reagan became president, and particularly after the stepped-up "anti-communist counterinsurgency training," or terrorist/guerilla warfare training ("terrorist" in the true sense of the word) at Ft. Benning of "Latin American personnel" from El Salvador at the U.S. Army School of the Americas, now called Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), things drastically changed.  To describe,  murdered victims appeared with three or four forms of torture performed, acid in the eyes being one of the favorites.  This spilled over to Honduras and Nicaragua as well, sadly. 

        Many Americans turned a blind eye to all of this because of the fear whipped up by those who would even sell their soul to the devil against the "Communist scare."  The same whipping up of hate and suspicion, and angst has been set in our country against African Americans after the Civil War, Irish Catholics in the early 1800's, and now, against Muslims both living in our country and beyond. 
       Most of the refugees at our Catholic Worker in D.C. witnessed much of this firsthand, and yes, it was the country's military doing much of it. Huge Carlos witnessed a savage group murder from a corn field, and when he tried to run, they caught a visual of him and hunted him down.  He and his wife Maria (pregnant) got their six other children to another part of the country and ran to the U.S. where they were the first Salvadoreans to be granted political asylum.  Their baby Leonardo was baptized with my first son, Shamus, at our Catholic Worker, St. Francis Catholic Worker, in Washington, D.C. (now the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker), in a Catholic worker soup pot.  It had been the former mother house of the Trinitarian order, and they had a fully functioning chapel in the basement.
     Very sadly in parts of Iraq right now Christians being severely persecuted.  They are "marked" on their doors or gates as Christian and are given time to convert to Islam or be forced to leave, or even killed.  More than 500 have been killed so far. Many must take only what they can carry or what they are wearing.  The following is a recent prayer written by Lous Rafael Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, and read last Sunday across the United States according to directions from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops :
"Lord, the plight of our country is deep
and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening.
Spare our lives and grant us patience and courage 
to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will
enable us to live with each other ... with 
dignity and joy.  
Glory be to you forever."
     At the Lamb Catholic Worker, our prayers are for the Christians and for the Muslims of Iraq, both at great danger right now, for the love and peace of God to reign in their hearts as brothers and sisters of one God.  We pray for the persecutors, for their salvation and for an open heart to respect and love those of another religion who nevertheless are as made in God's image and likeness as they are. May all of us intervene in our prayers and in moral responses, pleasing to the Lord.  May we, as Pope Francis has preached so passionately about, not be a part of two great evils in the world today:  "the culture of indifference and the culture of distraction."  May we set aside our computers and cell phones for much more time spent in prayer and meditation.  They say, "Satan doesn't make you bad, he makes you busy." 
      I pray that we not ignore the pleas for peace of this desperate Iraqi-American Catholic woman, who could possibly have Christian relatives still there, yet who knows the sick and hideous bloodiness of bombings and war.  She is more worried about the U.S. response than even the persecution by extremists in a remote pocket of Iraq. I pray that we listen to this pleading, holy woman at Carey.  Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us and for Iraqi people of all kinds!  Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, and Archbishop Oscar Romero, please pray for them!   
My Father, Tom Siemer, and Dom Helder Camara, 1978
OUR NEEDS:
  • Our greatest need is prayer and thankfulness for the more than 22,000 views on this site from over 80 countries.  Interestingly, the highest numbers are coming from the Ukraine right now.  God be with them all.  Please read our article about becoming a "sick and suffering co-Catholic Worker."  We need that level of prayer and sacrifice to get this off of the ground, like Blessed Mother Teresa whose ministry could not start without those valiant ones who offered up their physical, psychological or emotional suffering for her and her ministry.  Please consider this! :)  We will in turn pray for you as well.
  • We need workers in the field, those who feel they are at a point in their lives to make a life change completely, to throw off their old life and live as the early Church in "profound poverty, profound joy," and solely being instruments of God's love and peace to the world.  Eventually we will have community members of varying degrees of commitment, but for now, we need full-time ones
  • We also need funds to buy the properties in order to help us get started.  This is a huge task.  Any way that you could help us would be greatly appreciated, even simply praying and spreading the word!  We have a fully approved 501c3 nonprofit number if you feel you need this.  Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin encouraged all giving though to be a full sacrifice with no strings attached for the giver.  It is still a sacrifice though, even if part can lower ones taxes a little.  
     One last note is that we have a potential "relic" given to us by Dorothy Day's grandaughter, Martha Hennessy.  It is a part of a blue blanket she had crocheted for a grandson.  Martha placed it inside a seashell, which is touching because Dorothy so loved and meditated while on the beach.  Dorothy and Peter, please continue to pray for us. 

   One final note is that Bishop Richard Pate of Des Moines, Iowa and a contingent of 11 other bishops are going to the Holy Lands to pray and be a presence for peace in the Middle East.  This is soon to be announced nationally.  Pray for them!  Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for peace, for these most dear peacemakers, and for all peoples of Iraq.