HOUSE NEWS: Our week with the stars

Bishop Robert Baker, Bishop of Birmingham (AL), visits the GCW

Bishop Robert Baker, Bishop of Birmingham (AL), visits the GCW

Dear friends,

To see what is happening at the GCW this week, click here.

OUR WEEK WITH THE STARS: Thursday, February 12th thru Thursday, February 19th was “our week with the stars” at the Gainesville Catholic Worker. We were incredibly fortunate to have visits from theologian and author Jim Douglass, Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Fr. Chepe Perez from Guatemala and human rights activist Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM of School of the Americas Watch. Jim and Roy were our featured speakers one week apart at a our regular Thursday Roundtable, while we hosted a special Tuesday Roundtable with Chepe and we received a surprise visit at Sunday’s cafe from Bishop Baker, thanks to Fr. John Gillespie of St. Augustine Catholic Student Center.

While the work that we do around the works of mercy–feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, welcoming the stranger, and giving drink to the thirsty–is so central and important to our common life at the GCW, our vision for our community has always been that the GCW would function as a place of serious and challenging inquiry for people who were asking the big questions about life, faith, the way the world works, and so on. Being able to host speakers with whom we can discuss the important issues of our time in light of our faith and our values and take from those discussions direction for how to live our lives and change the world in which we live–this too is the essential heart of what the GCW is. So last week we got a history lesson from Jim Douglass on JFK, his conversion to the work of peace in our time, the resistance within our own system to such a vision, and his assassination. Chepe shared with us a model of church within Latin American communities that thrives on a “kingdom-centered” theology and spirituality and seeks to make the needs of the people central to the work of the church. Roy shared with his life story with us, how he was awakened to our nation’s oppressive role in Latin America, how he became energized by the spirit of martyrs of like Archbishop Romero and the work he and groups like SOAWatch are doing to transform U.S. foreign policy. And Bishop Baker, who founded Gainesville’s St. Francis House many years ago and has always made the care of the impoverished central to his own ministry, blessed our work at the GCW and spoke inspiring words to the confirmation students from Holy Faith Catholic Church who were serving at Sunday’s cafe.  We hope that you were aong the over 150 guests, visitors and volunteers who got to share in the visits of these wise and holy men who shared so much with us this week.

Jim Douglass with the GCW community

Jim Douglass with the GCW community

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM with Moraa

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM with Moraa

GAINESVILLE AND THE HOMELESS: This week we’re excited to have Joe Jackson with us. Joe has been teaching at the UF College of Law since 1995 and been involved in homeless advocacy, particularly legal advocacy, for the past 8 years. He’ll be addressing the city of Gainesville’s regulations restricting the provision of food and shelter to those in need–giving background on the kinds of restrictions different cities have imposed, how those restrictions have held up to legal challenges, and about Gainesville’s restrictions and current efforts to have those restrictions loosened. Please bring a dish to share if you can!

THE WORD ON THE STREET: It is not too late to join us in studying scripture each week. We meet on Tuesdays, from 2:30-4pm, to look at the readings which many churches will be using on the following Sunday in their worship services. As the season of Lent starts this week, our study will concentrate on readings which orient us toward Jesus’ confrontation with the political, economic and religious powers of his time, the repercussions of those confrontations and the final showdown which happens when Jesus brings his campaign for liberation to the heart of power in Jerusalem. We’ll look this week at Mark 1:12-15 and Genesis 9:8-15.

BLUE HOUSE PANTS? Look in next week’s email or on the website for information on a new project the GCW will be starting next weekend. We think that many of you will be intrigued…

In peace,

John

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Posted on 02/22/2009, in HOUSE NEWS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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