About the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker Community. . .The short answer is. . . We are an unincorporated autonomous lay association within the Catholic Worker charism engaged in the works of justice, peace, and mercy as we have ability, resources, and opportunity.
The longer explanation. . .
I think that is a good description. We are not an
"organization" in the way that most people think of
organizations. We don't have officers and a board of
directors. We aren't incorporated. We make decisions
by consensus. We don't have membership cards. We barely
have a mailing list. We're not officially a "person
of record under canonical law". We are an autonomous lay
community within the Catholic tradition. There is no
Catholic Worker hierarchy that tells us
Catholic Workers are personalists, that is, we believe in taking personal responsibility for living the teachings of Christ, all of them, especially the hard ones. Dorothy Day said, "The Sermon on the Mount is our Manifesto!" Most people would agree that that is a fine pious statement, but we take it literally, or as literally as we can.
Each Catholic Worker House is independent and autonomous
and self-governing. We all practice the spiritual and
corporal works of mercy, and we work to build a
civilization of life and love. We believe in and practice
social justice, and we hope that if we practice it hard
enough, we will eventually get good at it.
We also work for justice and peace in the world. We
promote environmental sustainability and stewardship. We
helped organize the Oklahoma Food Cooperative -- www.oklahomafood.coop.
Who, you may ask, was Oscar
How can people help? We
can always use help delivering food to the poor. We meet,
generally on the third and fourth Saturdays of each month
(except November and December, which have a different
schedule), at the Dorothy Day Center, 4909 N. State
Street, on the east side of the St. Charles Borromeo
property, at 9 AM.
Each month we deliver to about 350 households, and there
is a lot of fetching and carrying and work involved with
that. 350 deliveries requires about 550 bags of
groceries times 20 pounds per bag = more than 10,000
pounds of groceries.
If you know of people who don't have transportation, but need food, feel free to give them that number or call in their address and contact information yourself. We can always use donations of food. Food can be left at any time on the porch at 1524 NW 21st Street, or taken to the church offices at Epiphany Church. If I am not in, just tell the church secretaries it is for the Catholic Worker House. We especially need donations of peanut butter. That is an important food for the poor, and one of our major expenses each month is buying peanut butter. Another good item to donate is spaghetti sauce. We also need blankets, towels, socks, gloves, hats, for distribution to the poor.
We can also use donations of money to help fund this
work. Because we are not incorporated, donations to the
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House are not tax deductible.
Dorothy Day was firmly against giving tax deductions for
donations to Catholic Worker Houses. This is because for
Catholic Workers, the means we choose to achieve our ends
are as important as the ends themselves. If people want to
donate to a Catholic Worker house, they should do so
because it is the right thing to do, not because the
government gives them a tax deduction.
The other thing that we need is for more people to live just and sustainable lifestyles. Mother Teresa used to beg the rich to "take less, so that there will be more for others." How we live impacts the world around us. If we live lives of conspicuous consumption, greed, and gluttony, then that doesn't happen in isolation. Others will have less because we take more. The problem of poverty is not just a problem of the poor, it is also a problem of those who aren't poor.
Our advice is simple: do what you can, with what you have, where you are. That is what we are trying to do, and we invite you to help. Ad majorem Dei gloriam!
Robert Waldrop, founder
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, 1524 NW 21st,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106