Blog Archives

HOUSE NEWS: Summer schedule, Leroy got stabbed, Mass on Thursday and more…

Dear friends,

Our summer schedule is now set! For the next 6-plus weeks, until we close for our summer sabbatical in mid-June, click here to see what we’ll be doing schedule-wise.

A GOOD FRIEND ASSAULTED, RECOVERING: Many of you know Leroy, a former guest and regular volunteer at the house. On Saturday, Leroy was attacked by someone who mistook him for someone else and wanted money from him. Leory fought off his attacker but was seriously wounded–stabbed in the side and slashed in several places on his hand. He has a nurse call us to let us know that he was in Shands recovering, and after an overnight stay, Johnny picked him up and brought him back to the house to stay for a few days or so as he continues to heal. He has stitches crisscrossing the palm of his hand and it took 15 staples to close his side. We ask that you keep Leroy in your prayers as he recovers.

MONTHLY MASS AT THE GCW: Join us this Thursday, at 6pm, for our monthly Mass with Fr. John Phillips, our chaplain and pastor of Holy Faith Catholic Church. We celebrate this small, home Mass on the first Thursday of each month. Potluck dinner will follow.

VEGGIE POCKETS – aka BLUE HOUSE TO GO: Since the “powers that be” began requiring St. Francis House to stop serving meals after the 130th person has been served each day, we’ve heard lots of stories about the people who’ve been turned away – especially from people stopping by the house during the week asking if we have anything extra.  Because this is harvest season, and we have so many vegetables, it seemed like the ideal time to resurrect “veggie pockets.” Kelli used to make these for the HomeVan when it first began and it’s a great way to package up a lot of nutrition without a lot of packaging.  We’re serving them Mondays at noon as a “to go” meal. This week, they were made out of  kidney beans, greens, yellow squash, onions and garlic stir-fried and wrapped up in our famous bread dough. They’re good! It’s great to be able to meet this need – and Blue House To Go will take the place of Sunday’s cafe at least till fall.  If you want to help out, stop by the house between 9 and noon on Monday morning – and bring some cheddar cheese if you want to delight some people.

BLUE HOUSE PANTS: Good news and bad news… The bad news is the diocesan conference where we were going to debut the pants we’ve been making was canceled. The good news is we have more time to build up an inventory before we begin selling – and to test them out. If you would like to purchase some cute little baby pants – sizes 3 mos, 6 mos, and 9 mos, or men’s boxer shorts – small (32), medium (34), or large-ish (36) – or if you need a visual: Mohameds, Patricks, or Johns – all locally-sewn and made with love from recycled fabric, please let us know. They’re $15 and we would love for you to try them out and give us your input!


CHICKEN COOP – Ta da! It’s done and our little chickens are spending their first full day outside (thank goodness!!). For details, see Kelli’s blog.

DOROTHY’S CAFE ON WEDNESDAY: We’ll probably need some extra help this week with the students gone (ditto for Friday’s Breakfast Brigade), so come and help out if you have a chance. Our numbers have increased since St. Francis House stopped serving all the folks who show up there for lunch each week. Prep is between 9:30 and noon, serving between noon and 5, clean-up at 4:30 til 6pm.

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Gardening, Pants-making, Prison Reform, and No Cafe this Sunday

Dear friends,

Happy Easter! We had a nice celebration with family and friends over brunch at the House on Easter morning followed by an egg hunt for the children in the house, garden watering, a little more planting – and some rest. During the week, in addition to the regular goings-on and the additional events of Holy Week, we had two guests from Miami – Catholic Volunteers doing a year of service who wanted to spend some time volunteering at the House during their spring break. It was a busy week.

Sunday’s Cafe suspended for now: During the course of the week we talked to several homeless folks about food distribution in Gainesville. It seems that a number of other groups are now serving food on Sundays downtown. Recent lower numbers at the cafe have reflected this. That, plus our continuing struggle with funds, has led us to suspend the Sunday cafe while we figure out how best to serve hungry folks on days when they particularly need it. We are going to begin immediately to make “to go” containers marked with “Blue House” for folks to take left-over soup in and return to us for washing or refills. We’ll see how this is received and if there are particular days we can plan on meeting the lunchtime overflow from St. Francis House with either soup or veggie pockets made from vegetables donated from local farmers after the market. We’ll keep you posted.

Check out our website for updates to this week’s schedule. Here are some highlights:

Gardening – Watering and Weeding. We’ve got a large garden planted with seedlings that need lots of care during this sunny, dry weather. If you want to help, let us know and we will put you on the schedule!

Blue House PantsWe’re still making them and would love your help, especially if you have some sewing experience. Non-sewers are practicing on cloth napkins (also needed!). Stop by on Thursday afternoon between 1 and 4:30 if you can help. And bring an iron, scissors, pins, and/or sewing machine if you have them.

with Patrick Finn-Schultz from Jacksonville, Thursday, 6-7:30pm. Patrick will lead a discussion on Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Responsibility: The Prison Reform Movement. Bring a dish to share if you can. If not, come anyway.

Hope to see you this week!

Gainesville Catholic Worker


Dear Friends,

For this week’s schedule please click here.

Johnny and Patrick were at a Pax Christi meeting in Pennsylvania most of the week, but the rest of us kept the home-fire burning, the garden watered and weeded, and the meals coming.  A big thank you to the Servants of Christ for their delicious Pasta Fagioli and to the DEI fraternity for their help in the kitchen during Sunday’s cafe.

Many of you have read about the recent changes at St. Francis House, our city’s homeless shelter, in response to complaints about the growing number being served lunch. Some of our thoughts and experience are related in Kelli’s letter to the Sun which appeared last Sunday.

This week is Holy Week, and there will be a few changes to our regular schedule.


Blue House Pants: Thursday, 1 – 4:30; New pants out of old things – “locally sewn;” If you’ve got some sewing experience, come help us churn out a few more pairs in anticipation of selling them at an upcoming diocesan conference.


Way of the Cross: Friday, 12 noon – 2pm: This is an ancient tradition of the church.  Meet at the House, and then join us as we make our way through downtown Gainesville and reflect on how Christ continues to be crucified among us in the poor and marginalized in our community.

Happy Easter!

Gainesville Catholic Worker
218 NW 2nd Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32601


HOUSE NEWS: No Roundtable, Fundraiser Instead; Local Cheese, More Blue House Pants, and Congratulations Patrick

Everyone in the garden!

Everyone in the garden!

Dear Friends,

For this week’s schedule – click here.

What a busy week! The alternative spring breakers from the University of Cincinnati were a joy to have at the house last week – and very productive as well! Not only did they clear part of the empty lot we’ll be using as our new house garden, but planted a number of things as well. Within a couple months, if all goes well, our guests will be feasting on home-grown tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash, and okra while enjoying beautiful sunflowers and zinnias. We can honestly say we couldn’t have done it without them. Click here to see more photos!

Before and After

Before and After

This Week’s Highlights:

Blue House PantsThis Thursday, 1 – 4:30. We’ve been invited to take part in a workshop sponsored by the Diocese of St. Augustine: “Caring for God’s Creation: A Catholic Response” on Saturday, May 2. And we’ll be bringing a long some Blue House Pants to sell. So we’ll be ramping up production over the next month, sewing every Thursday between 1 and 4:30 and on Saturday, April 11, between 10am and 3pm. If you know how to sew, come help! If you’re learning, we’ll put you to work while passing on some mad sewing skills.

Socrates Cafe at Dorothy’s Cafe this Wednesday: A Socrates Cafe is basically a philosophical discussion group. The Cafes are carried out all over the country and in different parts of the world, and they originated out of the fear that most people’s everyday conversations were brow-beating experiences that involved excessive talking and too little listening. In a Socrates Cafe, the participants together decide on the questions/topics to be discussed. (Topics can be on anything; for example, some past topics have been “What is a just war?” “Who owns human life?” “What is an excellent marriage?”) Emphasis is on an open sharing of thoughts and opinions.

One will be carried out at the Catholic Worker House this Wednesday April the 1st at 3PM (near the end of Dorothy’s Cafe). Any and all are welcome to participate! Tatiana Gumucio, a Catholic Worker House volunteer and UF grad student, will be facilitating the Socrates Cafe as part of her coursework in Facilitation Skills.

No Roundtable/Mass , but come eat soup at the IFAH Empty Bowls Fundraiser! – Due to several schedule conflicts, including the fundraiser, we are canceling this month’s mass. Please join us for soup at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 6 and support the GCW:

On Thursday April 2, 2009 International Fine Arts in Healing (IFAH) will be holding an event called Empty Bowls at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (100 NE 1st St) from 6-8pm. “Empty bowls” is a nation-wide organization that works to combat hunger. Come join us for a simple soup and bread dinner, and take home a beautiful, handmade ceramic bowl! Tickets are $10, and all money made will be donated to the Jubilee House here in Gainesville , an organization that provides food to the hungry and homeless.

As well as soup, bread, and good company, we will have live entertainment featuring The Lower 13th St. “Good Time” Jazz Band, and a silent auction of handmade student and faculty artwork. Tickets are available to purchase now or at the door for $10.”

Fresh Local Cheese – A friend of the house raises goats and is beginning to sell goat cheese (up to now she’s just been delighting family and friends with it). Her dairy is not “certified” yet (an expensive process), but she uses the required methods and precautions in anticipation of having it certified. It is DELICIOUS, and we like knowing we’re supporting an up-and-coming local farmer when we eat it – spread on crackers, bread and bagels and plopped on chili so far. So far this spring she’s prepared batches of mild jalapeno, garlic and chive, and plain (you can salt and herb it yourself) at $10/pound. Raw goat milk is $8/gallon. If you’re interested in buying some, let us know, and we’ll be happy to connect you.

An Engagement and a Birthday?! No one can ever accuse Patrick of being lax in celebrating. Last week, Patrick popped the question to Catherine, and after a long negotiation, she said yes. So congrats to Patrick and Catherine! And congrats again to Patrick, whose birthday is coming up this Saturday, April 4th. Johnny and Patrick will be out-of-town in PA for his birthday but feel free to drop Patrick birthday wishes when you are at the house this week!

Patrick and Catherine

Patrick and Catherine

Have a good week. Hope to see you!

Kelli and GCW Community

HOUSE NEWS: Kendera’s birthday, a FULL house and who stole our car?!

Dear friends,

For a complete list of what’s happening at the house this week, click here.

STOLEN CAR: Well, Spring Break is usually a fairly uneventful week at the GCW, seeing that we typically scale back a little, and the younger ones among us partake of the same spring fever that their counterparts at UF and SFC experience. But this past week, we were blessed with a story I’m sure will be remembered for as long as the GCW continues to exist. Our house vehicle got stolen. If it happened a little over a year ago, we would have had three vehicles, but one we gave away and the other we sold when it became too expensive to repair. So we were down to the Nissan Pathfinder that Anthony and Michelle Musalo so generously donated to the house about 4 years ago. The Pathfinder has also seen better days, but it was still good for hauling the fruits and vegetables we gleaned each week at the 441 Farmers’ Market, picking up groceries, helping formerly homeless friends move into apartments, etc.

But recently, if you put the Pathfinder into “park”, you’d be lucky if you ever got it out of park. So we took to leaving a key in the ignition, parking it in neutral, and locking all the doors nice and tight. Well, on Wednesday night, either we did not lock all the doors (I was the last one in the car, so maybe that should read “maybe I did not lock all the doors”) or someone saw the key and broke a window to get in. Either way, our car is gone. We filed a police report and several of our friends from the street have sworn they’ll find it, but we’re doubtful about seeing it again.

Soooooo … If anyone has any leads on a cheap car that runs good (preferably a station wagon or something with a little room for hauling stuff), let us know. Thanks!

KENDERA’S BIRTHDAY: Yes, Moraa’s mother is celebrating her birthday this week, Thursday, March 19th. Not sure if she wants her age known, so I’ll refrain from that information. We’ll celebrate at the Roundtable, but feel free to wish her a happy birthday anytime you’re by the house this week. Or leave her a message or share a story on the GCW Facebook page on the Discussion Board. Happy Birthday Kendera! (And a warning to all: this is the first of three weeks of birthday messages for folks living at the house. Counting Mohamed, four of our house community have birthdays within a month of each other.)

ROUNDTABLE ON HAITI THIS WEEK (WE HOPE): Junior St-Vil, executive director of Pax Christi Haiti, is supposed to be visiting us for the next two weeks if there are no problems with his travel. If so, he’ll be here Thursday to talk about Haiti and the economic and political situation there, as well as the work Pax Christi Haiti is doing with nonviolence education in the country. Check back later this week to see if Junior does make it here or if we have to switch speakers.

YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO MAKE SOME BLUE HOUSE PANTS: The Blue House Pants Project returns this Saturday, from 10am to 5pm. If you know how to sew or want to learn, click here to learn more.

A REAL FULL HOUSE: This week begins about 3 weeks of numerous guests. There are 9 of us living here full time, one current guest staying this week, Junior coming from Haiti for two weeks, and a group of 8(!) joining us for 8 days to do an alternative spring break with us. It will be the third year in a row we’ve had a group of students from the University of Cincinnati join us. They arrive Saturday, March 21. We hope many of you will get the chance to meet them and work with them while they’re here.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who pitched in to help with Brigade and Cafe this past week while many of our regular volunteers were gone. We are, as always, grateful and moved by your generosity!

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Only Cafes and Breakfast Brigade this week

Dear friends,

Due to UF and Santa Fe Spring Breaks and travel/breaks for several of our community members, we’re on a “skeleton schedule” this week. The only activities at the house this week are Dorothy’s Cafe (both Wednesday and Sunday) and Breakfast Brigade (Friday). Other than that, we’ll be in-and-out, doing some catch-up work and getting ready for a slew of extra visitors over the next 4-5 weeks.

DOROTHY’S CAFE AND BREAKFAST BRIGADE: This Wednesday, we’ll need extra help at Dorothy’s Cafe if you are in town and would like to help out. We’ll be shorthanded since most of our Wednesday volunteers are students (ditto for Breakfast Brigade on Friday morning). Prep is between 9:30 and noon, serving between noon and 5pm, and clean-up between 4:30 and 6. Great opportunity to come if you can! Also , we’re glad to have the good folks from United Church of Gainesville back to help this Sunday. The youth group from UCG will be hosting Sunday’s cafe–providing food and volunteers. We can usually use a few extra volunteers, so feel free to join us!

BLUE HOUSE PANTS PROJECT UPDATE: We held our second Blue House Pants workshop on Saturday and we’re really excited about the possibilities for this new project. For the full scoop, click here. For photos from this past Saturday’s workshop, click here.

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MOHAMMED! Last week, Mohammed celebrated his 56th birthday. Patrick and Kim took him to see the Japanese drumming show at the Center for the Performing Arts. Click here to see photos.

Back to regular schedule next week!

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Blue House Pants begins, Thursday Mass, and more

Dear friends,

For a complete list of what is happening at the house this week, click here.

BLUE HOUSE PANTS BEGINS: A new project at the GCW! Kelli will write more about this in the weeks to come, but in a nutshell, if you know how to sew or want to learn to sew, join us twice-monthly to make “Blue House Pants.” At first, we’ll just be taking old fabric and using it to make pants, boxers, pajamas, etc. Our hope is that this work might turn into a real cottage industry down the line. Drop in to help anytime this Saturday between 10am and 3pm!

DEPRESSION AND DEPRESSION: Many of you are familiar with Kelli’s blog on “learning to live locally.” In recent days she’s been writing on several interesting topics, but most particularly, we wanted to share this blog post she wrote on our ongoing economic collapse and the emotional/spiritual repercussions of it. It’s interesting that the word “depression” has both economic and emotional/psychological/spiritual connotations. To read Kelli’s blog post, just click here.

OBSERVING LENT WITH THE GCW: As some of you might notice, this update is getting out about 2 days later than usual. Blame it on the liturgical season of Lent, that time of 40 days of preparation and repentance just before Easter. The direct blame is that as part of our Lenten discipline this year, as a community we are foregoing or “fasting” from electricity after sunset each day. No electric lights, television, computers, ovens, etc. And since I usually do this late Sunday nights… well, there you have it. If you’re interested in making the GCW part of your Lenten observance, click here for some past ideas that folks have had and some things we have planned for the next 40 days.

MONTHLY MASS AT THE GCW THIS THURSDAY: Join us this Thursday for our monthly Mass, celebrated by Fr. John Phillips, in lieu of our usual Roundtable. Mass will start at 6pm with dinner to follow. Bring a dish to share if you can.

SPRING BREAK MEANS SKELETON SCHEDULE: Next week is Spring Break for UF (and Santa Fe??) and that means we’ll be on a “skeleton schedule” at the house. We’ll still do next Wednesday’s Dorothy’s Cafe as well as next Friday’s Breakfast Brigade, but everything else–Roundtable, Scripture Study, etc–we’ll skip. If you’re going to be around, we can use extra help for both the cafe and BB next week since our regulars will be gone for the most part. So if you usually have a conflict–next week is your chance!

Don’t forget to join our group on Facebook if you’re on FB…

In peace,