I recently had the pleasure of spending an evening at the Catholic Worker’s north London house of hospitality, Guiseppe Conlon House, in Haringey.
The Catholic Worker Movement was started in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin as a movement of radical Christian communities, committed to building a ‘new society within the shell of the old, a society in which it will be easier to be good’ by putting into action the Corporal Works of Mercy.
With the Gospel of Jesus Christ as their manifesto, men and women from all walks of life work with those on the margins and campaign for justice, peace and integrity of creation.
After a warm welcome I was soon put to good use in the kitchen preparing the evening meal where – under the careful supervision of volunteer Jessie – I did my best at peeling potatoes and talked to a former guest who is an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka.
After six years of waiting for a Border Agency decision he anxiously awaits a ruling on his case. He’s now volunteering at the Catholic Worker in gratitude for the sanctuary they have provided to him in the past.
Visiting and ‘live-in’ volunteers at the Guiseppe Conlon House provide accommodation and hospitality for asylum seekers who have no recourse to public funds. The community pray together, maintain the house together, cook together and socialise together.
They are a remarkable group of people – young and not so young, from Britain and overseas – who give generously of their time to perform the works of mercy and advocate for those Christ called ‘the least of these’.
Earlier this year, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visited the Guiseppe Conlon House where they praised the work done by the community.
Archbishop Welby commented that he had found himself “face to face with Jesus Christ again.”
Performing the works of mercy with the Catholic Worker movement is indeed coming face to face with Jesus Christ. To support the work of the Catholic Worker visit: http://www.londoncatholicworker.org
Please pray for the Catholic Worker community, giving thanks for the work that they do and asking that they may be supported in their important ministry. May the hearts of each of us be opened to the sufferings of those in need. Amen.
Tom Robinson, St. Francis of Assisi parish Middlesbrough