Heard Around the Catholic Worker (#8)

In this issue: The Institute for Religious Peace and Justice changes its name to honor Jim Forest; Amistad Catholic Worker raises money for tiny houses; Theo Kayser is live-blogging the Catholic Worker Eurogathering; and Brian Terrell makes the case that Catholic Worker communities need to go beyond “hyper-local” activism.

If you have news to share, send it to jerry@catholicworker.org.


IRPJ Changes Name to Jim Forest Institute

The Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice at St. Stephen’s University (New Brunswick, Canada) is now the Jim Forest Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice (JFI). The renaming honors the legacy of Jim Forest (1941–2022), a writer and prominent leader in the Christian peace movement who briefly served as managing editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper.

“Jim was a friend and supporter of IRPJ from our very first days,” the Institute said in a statement on its Facebook page. “In addition to continuing our programs and initiatives that reflect the peace work that Jim devoted his life to, plans are underway to develop new initiatives that focus on supporting academic research on peace and justice that reflect the issues that Jim cared about most.”

Coffee with Catholic Workers Interviews Lincoln Rice

Episode 16 of Coffee with Catholic Workers interviews Lincoln Rice of Casa Maria Catholic Worker (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Lincoln is the author of The Forgotten Radical Peter Maurin: Easy Essays from the Catholic Worker. Lincoln offers an overview of Peter Maurin’s philosophy, including his vision for the world and his vision for the Catholic Worker Movement.

Marian Catholic High School Visits Dorothy Day Community Farm

Marian Catholic High School students visited Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm (Harvey’s Lake, Pennsylvania). The students worked on projects around the farm, learned about the Catholic Worker movement, and prayed in the chapel. See photos on Facebook.


Frida Berrigan Reviews “How to Blow Up a Pipeline”

How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a powerful movie that nonetheless misses something essential, Froda Berrigan writes in her review at the Waging Nonviolence website. Berrigan, the daughter of Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister, notes that it was “faith and friendship” that helped her parents and other Plowshares activists cope with the questions and consequences that followed their actions. The movie depicts love and friendship among the young people who come together to blow up an oil pipeline. “But there is no common vision, language or belief,” nor any enduring community, Berrigan writes.

Anyone moved by the movie, Berrigan says, should consider supporting a real-life climate activist by writing to Jessica Reznicek, who is serving eight years in federal prison for dismantling construction equipment and pipeline valves to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016.

The Legacy of the Catonville Nine

Fifty-five years after nine Catholic protesters burned draft files in Catonville, Maryland, the world still needs the witness of prayerful protests against warmaking, writes Fr. Gerry McFlynn in The Irish News (“The Catonsville Nine, the Vietnam War and the power of protest as prayer“).

The nine Catholic peace activists included Fr. Daniel and Fr. Philip Berrigan. On May 17, 1968, they broke into a recruitment office and burned 378 draft files in the parking lot using homemade napalm. The event made the cover of Time magazine and played a crucial role in raising public awareness, accelerating the end of the Vietnam War.

While some in the peace movement opposed the action, Dorothy Day “thought that such non-violent direct action could be a form of prayer,” Fr. McFlynn writes. The Catonville action “speaks to us about the continuing need for protest and civil disobedience given the state of our world…. It reminds us powerfully that, as Christians, we have the spiritual resources necessary to sustain us in the long struggle against war-making – namely, the Gospel and the Eucharist – against which no enemy can prevail.”

Amistad Catholic Worker Seeks Tiny Houses for Unsheltered

A fundraiser was held for Amistad Catholic Worker (New Haven, Connecticut) on May 13 to raise money for the purchase of sturdy sleeping shelters to be placed in the community’s backyard, according to Zip06.com. The community has been advocating for the rights of local unsheltered people, opposing efforts by the city of New Haven to disperse a local tent city. When the city cleared the area in April, Amistad Catholic Worker invited people from the tent city to relocate to the community’s backyard, where they have access to electricity and running water. See full coverage of the event in the New Haven Independent: City Housing Plight Brought To The ‘Burbs.

In the wake of the city’s removal of the tent city, three unsheltered individuals died after seeking shelter in unsafe places, according to the article. To learn more about Amistad Catholic Worker’s work on this issue, listen to the Coffee with Catholic Workers podcast interview with Amistad Catholic Worker Mark Colville.

National Catholic Reporter Interviews L.A. CW’s Jeff Dietrich

National Catholic Reporter interviewed Jeff Dietrich (L.A. Catholic Worker) to mark the re-release of his classic1983 book, Reluctant Resister. The book contains letters that Dietrich sent to his wife, Catherine Morris, while serving a six-month jail sentence for disrupting a U.S. military technology show at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“I still think, in reading over these letters from prison, resistance is still the most important element of the Catholic Worker,” Dietrich told NCR, “Christians should still be resisters and should be a sign that the culture continues to go the wrong way. We should be a sign of life.”

Copies of the re-released book can be purchased from the Los Angeles Catholic Worker by calling 323-267-8789 or sending an email to info@lacatholicworker.org.

University of Chicago Theology Professor on “The Long Loneliness”

Professor Kristine Culp of the University of Chicago Divinity School analyzes Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness as part of the university’s “Why This Text Matters” series on YouTube. Although the book was subtitled “An Autobiography,” Dorothy called it a confession, and opens the book in the setting of a confessional, an interesting choice that Professor Culp uses as a springboard for the rest of her incisive presentation. The book is constructed to imitate the structure of Augustine’s famous confessional work, Culp said: “She wamts tp, as she’s done in that confessional, attune our attention and consciousness to the things that have delighted her and the things that have troubled her, and that’s especially to the poor.” Watch the 34-minute video on YouTube.


St. Isidore Day Will Feature Potluck, Prayer, Dancing

St. Isidore Catholic Worker Farm (Cuba City, Wisconsin) is holding its annual Isidore Day Saturday, May 20th at 4 p.m. featuring a potluck, dance, prayer, and bonfire. For details, contact Eric Anglada at catholicworkerschool@gmail.com.

Jonah House to Celebrate 50 Years

The Daniel Berrigan Collective is hosting “a celebration, a Jonah House reunion, in which we will feast on images and hear voices from across Jonah House’s 50 extraordinary years of community, nonviolence, and resistance.” The virtual event will be held Saturday, June 10, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EDT. Contact the Daniel Berrigan Collective for details.


Theo Kayser Is Documenting the Catholic Worker Eurogathering

Theo Kayser is posting on his Facebook account about his trip to Europe for the European CW Gathering. Head over to his account to see pictures of the Amsterdam Catholic Worker, a shower made for tall people, and a shopping mall cosplaying as an airport.


Terrell: “Hyper-Local” CWs Aren’t New…and Should Embrace CW Tradition of Resistance to Militarism

Responding in part to a recent article in The Nation, Brian Terrell asks whether it is enough for Catholic Worker communities to focus on local action to the exclusion of resistance to the wider problem of militarism. Read the article: Is Going “Hyper-Local” Enough?

Dietrich Pens a New Intro for the 40th Anniversary of “Reluctant Resistor”

On the 40th anniversary of Reluctant Resister, a collection of L.A. Catholic Worker Jeff Dietrich’s letters from prison, the book has been republished with a new Introduction. Read it here: On Its 40th Anniversary, a New Intro for “Reluctant Resister”

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