Hello to all,
Feelings of gratitude still linger from yesteday's incredibly enjoyable time with the family of our daughter's partner here in San Francisco where we are spending 5 days with our two children. Both kids have found a way to live and work in the Bay Area. We are thrilled to have been again invited to spend Thanksgiving with them.
Yesterday, before heading out to our daughter's big food fiesta, we walked over to the St. Martin DePorres House of Hospitality (www.martindeporres.org) to see what was happening. From about a block away, I could see a pretty good sized crowd gathered on the sidewalk, next to an even larger clump of bicycles. The facade of this city lot had rough sawn planking holding up the tattered cloth signs and banners, one of which had a quote by Dorothy Day. I knew I had found the right spot! While this multi-faceted ourtreach program is perhaps not a pure Catholic Worker, the spirit of good works made the place vibrate in a way that we would all recognize as close to our founders' hearts.
Once my daughter, son and I made it through the large wooden door, we were greeted by a couple of women and a man who were handing out tickets for the Thanksgiving Day meal. We explained that could not stay, but if we had, would have been number 229. The place was abuzz with excitement and good will, no unlike what I have felt when volunteering at The River Food Pantry. A 10 member jazz band was playing in one corner of the courtyard. Our greeter, Abby, explained that this band had the tradition of playing every year for this huge holiday celebration as they had done for the past 23 years. Abby has been involved since 1978.
We kept our initial visit short. Abby and the others were obviously mulit-tasking as they talked to us, directing guests and volunteers to the different stations set up. They told us that they were managing over 100 volunteers! We said our goodbyes, but not before being invited back as volunteers to help with meal prep and serving. I plan to make my way back over to St Martin House sometime today or Sunday to spend a few hours with the other volunteers. I will report back with more details at our next Round Table/Brunch, the date of which has not yet been set.
I want to express to each of you who have been a part of the conceiving and building of Madison Catholic Worker my sincere gratitude. Our small community began this year, and although still quite young and fragile, we are very much alive with hope. Building a community founded on shared dreams has to be one of the most fulfilling activities that we as humans can undertake. I can't imagine anything more worthwhile. Thank you, thank you, each of you, for the risks you have taken with MCW and for the generous time and spirit you each have contributed to this undertaking. My prayer is that as we look ahead to next year, we will continue to be nurtured by the zeal of Peter and Dorothy.
Wishing you and yours a restful, joyful Thanksgiving!
St Martin House of Hospitality