Jan. 5, 2018. The Ward 9 warm welcome center was deployed on a rainy Friday night at Kesey Square in Eugene. Between 10 and 20 people took shelter in the facility. The police waited until 6:30AM to appear and tell the citizens to shut the facility down. The plan with the warm welcome center is to always shut down and remove the equipment at 7:00AM. No tickets were issued as a result of the police warnings.
Jan. 10, 2018. A Ward 9 general meeting took place the evening of Jan. 9. Items discussed inccluded:
There is some consideration of obtaining a permit to erect the warm welcome center at Kesey Square. Some skepticism was expressed about the permit due to the possibility that unreasonable restrictions might be placed on the operation.
Discussion took place about required behavior restrictions (no drinking, no drugs, no lewd conduct, …). The expectations need to be formalized.
Possible locations of deployment discussed where Whitebird, Kesey Square, and two other private locations close to down town.
Our house is now fully functional. Our bedrooms rooms are full with at least two guests in each. We continue to serve the needs of brothers and sisters of the street with hospitality, food and clothing. The Lord has blessed us with resources and sponsors to accomplish our ministry
Periodically it is good to restate our positions and tell our friends and readers again just what is it we are trying to do here at the Eugene Catholic Worker – what it means to us to perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The most important thing in the world to us is to grow in the love of God and to try to do God’s will. Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that what we do to the least we do to Him. St. Paul told us we are members one of another, and that when the health of one member suffers, the health of the whole body is lowered.
Volume I Issue II. Fall 2016
We believe not only in St. Thomas’ doctrine of the Common Good, but feel it can be affected only if each one of us, alone, realizes our personal responsibility to our sister or brother, that our love for God must be shown in our love for others, and that love must be expressed in the works of mercy practice personally, at personal sacrifice. So we lived together here at the Eugene Catholic worker, pool our limited resources of money and ability to take care of more than just ourselves. Society today has seen the lost the sense of personal responsibility in our country and our country has become a country of institutions, and a gigantic part of our income goes to support them. State responsibility has taken the place of personal responsibility. Doctors at what remain of our mental institutions and veteran’s hospitals have said that a tremendous number of patients could be cared for at home if their families would take responsibility. On the other hand houses and apartments are smaller today so that there is “no room at the inn.” The house that we now occupy was built at a time when people wanted space with its seven bedrooms we could easily accommodate four people per bedroom with a total of 28. While our capacity is 28 local codes restrict us to the number of residents and guest. However, when people come to us in need we cannot say, “Go, we are at capacity,” and referred them to an agency or shelter that is already filled.
We are not organized as an institution of any kind and the city of Eugene and state of Oregon really don’t know how to classify us. We are not a multiple family dwelling, a rest home, a convalescent home, a shelter or an asylum or a convent. We are just a group of people living together under one roof with one stated purpose: helping those less fortunate than ourselves. We are not a registered charitable agency even though we are definitely a nonprofit group. We hope our dear Lord recognizes us as charitable people. We try to obey the laws and regulations about housing, health and fire prevention, and take as good care of our family as we can because we are family. We find we are always coming up against some ordinance, some infraction. No doubt we will always be in trouble with the city, state and Caesar because, though we consider ourselves good citizens and lovers of this country as well as children of God and try to bear our share of the responsibility of one for another, government has come to feel that this is their field (since it has been left to them). A Western bishop once said to Dorothy Day that he did not believe in state ownership of the indigent and poor. God wants our free service, our freely bestowed love. So we protest and cry out against every infringement of that great gift of God, freedom, our greatest gift, after the gift of life. It is that the love of others that care for their freedom is what causes us to go into such controversy all subjects as the individual and the state, war and peace. The implications of the gospel, teaching the works of mercy, lead us into conflict with the powers of this world. Our love of God is a consuming fire. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. It is a living God and a living faith that we are trying to express we are called to be holy, that is whole human beings, in this short life of ours. We are trying to follow this call. It has led many Catholic workers into the priesthood, into monasteries, and contents. But we in our community as a group, not having this vocation, are not classified as a religious group not even as a Catholic group, and so do not have the protection of that classification. We are individual Catholics, Protestants and some with no part particular denomination however we do it here to Catholic social justice doctrine and the desire and determination to spread the gospel through our actions so can be said about Christians “See how they love each other and not pass the buck.”
Three years ago when I arrived in Eugene, I never intended to start a Catholic worker house but wanted to volunteer with a Catholic worker house in the area. To my dismay the information regarding the areas Catholic Worker communities is very dated material and they had gone by the wayside. While living in the Springfield area I quickly determine that there was a need for a house of hospitality in the Springfield Eugene area. As with many communities across the country affordable housing is nonexistent for a vast number of people. Criminalization of the poor and homeless in our area demanded that we take action. We still have people who sleep in our alley and spend some days with us and share our meals. It is so hard to limit oneself. It was said that Pius XII told some sisters once “Never be afraid to run up bills for the poor.” Of course it always goes back to the fact that we are not a so-called accredited agency but we are a ministry of the secular Franciscan order that has allowed us to become a viable partner with Food for Lane County. At this time we are never going to become a formalized charitable organization because we are trying to make a point: Our lives, our work, and personal responsibility comes first. We all are born alone, we all die, we must, each one of us, do what we can for God and our neighbor, not God and country, but God and our neighbor, as Christ stated.
The year of mercy has passed and mercy is now needed more than ever. The country is divided. It is divided by labels gay and straight, Republican Democrat, liberal and progressive, liberal and conservative, pro-life and pro-choice, white and black Christian and Muslim, believer and nonbeliever. Our country is polarized by labels. We will continue to work with mercy to all and dismiss all the labels because in our eyes as well as God’s eyes we are all God’s children. And we are the keepers of our brothers and sisters.
So we are asking you to keep us in your prayers, donate some ofyour time if time permits and any goods and/or services that would be beneficial to our ministry would be most well, While we are not a formally a tax exempt organization we can always use IN KIND cash donations to help us pay our bills.
All of us here at the ECW Poverello community wish you and your families a very Merry and Joyful Christmas. May God bless you 100 fold in the coming year.