Angel City Chorale Performs At Hippie Kitchen

On Saturday, December 8, the Angel City Chorale made their annual visit to Skid Row to sing Christmas Carols in our dining garden. Everyone present from guests eating in the garden, to volunteers and community members, clearly enjoyed their uplifting performance.

This year, as in the past, they had a variety of songs from old classics to newer originals. And as is the custom, near the end of the concert they spread out among the tables and invited everyone to join in a sing-a-long. The entire concert was a wonderful treat.

We thank you, Angel City Chorale, for again making time to visit our garden and spread the holiday spirit. Blessings upon all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope to see you again next year.

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LACW Attends Burial Of L.A. County Unclaimed Dead

On Wednesday, December 5, under gray skies and cool and windy conditions, LACW community members were part of a group of approximately 200 people who attended an interfaith graveside memorial service honoring 1,467 people whose bodies were unclaimed in 2015 and cremated. Some may have been people we served at our Skid Row soup kitchen or other houseless sisters and brothers, others were individuals whose families were too poor to claim them and pay the cremation expenses, while others had no known family to grieve for them.

The annual service, held since the 1890’s, is conducted at Evergreen Cemetery near our house in Boyle Heights, and is organized by our longtime friend, Fr. Chris Ponnet, head chaplain at L.A. County – U.S.C. Hospital. Over the past dozen plus years, the numbers of attendees has steadily increased from about fifteen people to nearly two hundred this year.

Prayers were offered in English, Spanish, Korean, and Fijian, along with a Muslim text by representatives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths. A Native American woman chanted, and a man played classical music on an oboe in between prayers. Some people brought a single flower, others bouquets of flowers, yet others some sort of offering, with sage and incense being burned.

While the rich and powerful have lengthy ceremonies with lots of attention, accolades, and honor, receiving international coverage, the poorest of the poor are also remembered in a simple service attended by strangers who care enough to uphold their dignity as God’s children not to be forgotten.

Photo by Matt Harper

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46th Annual St. Paul High School March For Hunger

On a beautiful, sunny, and pleasant Sunday, December 2, the LACW had its only annual fundraiser, the St. Paul High School (in suburban Santa Fe Springs) March For Hunger. The walk is actually a Marathon as it is slightly more than 26 miles.

This is year 46 for the walk that included nearly 400 students, faculty, alumni, and eight Catholic Workers who joined in at the spot where we gathered, except for Kaleb Havens, who did the entire walk.

We are exceedingly grateful for all the walkers, St. Paul High School, and the money they raise to operate our soup kitchen. A big THANK YOU! and Many blessings. See more photos HERE.

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December 2018 Agitator

Here is the DECEMBER Catholic Agitator

In This Issue: 


  • It’s Like Eden To Me by Jeff Dietrich
  • Karán Founds-Benton – R.I.P 
  • A Little Prophecy by Karán Founds-Benton
  • Meet A Guest Volunteer by Kaleb Havens
  • Skid Row Friends by Matt Harper
  • The Work They Do Is Fulfilling by Mayer Cook-Tonkin
  • Arlington West Memorial by Benny Mattis
  • Learning To Love By Serving Others by Romario Quijano
  • J.C. The Iceman by Kaleb Haven
  • Spigot by Karán Founds-Benton

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LACW Karan Founds-Benton 1955 – 2018 R.I.P.

The LACW will have a memorial service for Karan at this Wednesday’s liturgy at 6pm (November 28). We have not yet heard from her family about funeral arrangements, but will post them here when matters are finalized.

It is with great sadness that we announce that our beloved LACW community member Karán Founds-Benton joined the Heavenly Cloud of Witnesses on Sunday, November 25, 2018. Karán recently gave up her three-year battle with stage four cancer, and with the approval of her doctors, stopped all treatment, except for pain medication. In mid-November she moved out of Hennacy House and went into hospice care with her family. Karán died peacefully in her sleep. She was 63.

When first diagnosed with cancer she was given approximately six months to live. Rejecting the usual chemo therapy and radiation treatments, she chose alternative forms of treatment and lived far beyond anyone’s expectations. She had a bucket list that she was dedicated to completing before passing, and was able to fulfill nearly all of her wishes and dreams.

A former teacher, Karán joined the LACW in 2013 after spending time at an Iowa Catholic Worker and immediately became active in a variety of projects including our clothes distribution, toiletries inventory, and footcare. She also was a periodic lay celebrant at our weekly liturgies.

Karán was dedicated to our war, nuclear weapons, and drone resistance efforts and was arrested several times up until one month before she died. Karán was also a poet, actor, and writer. She recently had a book of her poetry published and was working on a novel. Karán also loved singing, playing guitar, listening to symphony music and opera.

Along with the LACW community, Karán leaves behind a daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Thank you, Karán, for the love, comfort, joy, and happiness you brought to the many lives you touched in various ways. You will be deeply missed. R.I.P.



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Thanksgiving At The LACW

On Thanksgiving Day we hosted 25 of our friends from downtown plus  volunteers, family, and friends for a great Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings.

We watched some football games and had great conversations, and ate and ate until we could not eat anymore. The food was prepared by various community members and friends who baked and cooked a variety of their favorite dishes. All had a wonderful time. 

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Upcoming Holiday Schedules

Please note that Hospitality Kitchen (aka Hippie Kitchen) is closed on Tuesday, November 20 for needed maintenance, and Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22. However, we will be open on Saturday, November 25.

Further, the kitchen will also be closed on Saturday, December 22,  Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25, will reopen on Thursday, December 27. We will also be closed on New Years Day, Tuesday, January 1, will reopen on Thursday, January 3.

Also, we DO NOT accept volunteers working for school service requirements or other forms of community service hours beginning the week after Thanksgiving until the week after Christmas. We do not have space to accommodate the many people who wish to volunteer during this time period.

Thank you. Happy holidays. May your holiday season be safe and filled with many blessings and much joy, happiness, and love.

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Catholic Worker Tensie Hernandez Self-Surrenders To Federal Authorities

On Thursday, October 18, 2018, Tensie Hernandez, from the Guadalupe Catholic Worker, appeared in Santa Barbara Federal Court for a trespass charge related to her arrest at Vandenberg Air Force Base on August 6 during our annual protest commemorating the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The court accepted Tensie’s guilty plea and ordered her to spend 7 days in federal custody at the downtown Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center. 

On Monday, November 5, we gathered at the downtown Roybal Federal Building for a short prayer service before Tensie self-surrendered at the U.S. Marshal’s Office escorted by her husband Dennis Apel.  It is expected that Tensie will be released on Friday, November 9 because of the Veteran’s Day holiday on Monday. We thank Tensie for her witness and dedication to peace and U.S. imperial war machine disarmament.

(NOTE: To see below photos in high resolution click on each photo.)

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Dorothy Day Birthday

Today, November 8, 2018, we commemorate Catholic Worker movement co-founder Dorothy Day’s 121st birthday. We give thanks for the gift of Dorothy’s life, her witness, and the CW movement–founded in 1933.  Dorothy joined the Heavenly Cloud Of Witnesses on November 29, 1980 (aged 83) in New York City

Dorothy was a woman who afflicted the comfortable, and comforted the afflicted. She liked to say, “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.”

Another famous quote allegedly said by Dorothy: “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system.”

Some interesting facts:

  1. Born in 1897, she was raised in a nominally Protestant family and became a Roman Catholic in 1928.
  2. One of her early memories was the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and how her mother offered help to quake victims.
  3. Her father was a sportswriter who covered racetrack news.
  4. She loved reading novels from early childhood on, and her favorite author was Fydor Dostoevsky.
  5. She was baptized and confirmed at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in Chicago in March of 1911 when she was thirteen.
  6. She rejected organized religion in college because she didn’t see so-called “religious people” helping the poor.
  7. In the World War I period she was part of a circle of social radicals and literary types like Eugene O’Neill.
  8. She first went to jail with a group of suffragists in 1917 who were demonstrating at the White House in favor of giving women voting rights.
  9. She had an abortion in a failed relationship when she was 22 years old.
  10. The birth of her daughter Tamar in 1926, within a common-law marriage, brought her great joy and happiness, and led to her final embrace of the Catholic faith.
  11. She met Peter Maurin in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression.
  12. The Catholic Worker newspaper appeared in May 1933 with 2,500 copies distributed by hand. Circulation grew to 190,000 by 1938, and dropped to 50,000 during World War II, largely because of the paper’s pacifist stand. (Today’s circulation is over 80,000.)
  13. The first House of Hospitality opened in 1933. Today over 220 Catholic Worker communities exist in thirty-nine states and ten foreign countries.
  14. She maintained throughout her life that Peter Maurin, not she, started the Catholic Worker Movement. She called him a modern St. Francis who was responsible for completing her Catholic education.
  15. Her written work includes 8 books, 350 plus articles for journals and magazines, and over 1,000 articles for The Catholic Worker newspaper.
  16. A heavy smoker for years, she finally gave up the habit “cold turkey” after praying for several years for help in quitting.
  17. She went to daily Mass and weekly confession, and regularly went on religious retreats.
  18. She read the Bible at a time most Catholics didn’t.
  19. She travelled long distances by bus. She carried a Bible, a missal, the Divine Office, and a jar of instant coffee on her hundreds of trips.
  20. She went to jail four times from 1955 to 1959 for acts of civil disobedience. She with others refused to take shelter during civil defense drills that simulated a nuclear attack on New York City.
  21. In 1955 she became a professed secular oblate of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Procopius.
  22. She and a group of women fasted for ten days in 1963 in Rome, at Vatican Council II, wanting the bishops to condemn all war. They did condemn nuclear war.
  23. She was instrumental in founding Pax Christi USA.
  24. She was a prolific letter writer, including many years of correspondence with the monk Thomas Merton.
  25. She was a grandmother nine times, with one grandson going to Vietnam with the U.S. military during the war.
  26. She was a friend to bishops and cardinals, while being critical of the Church’s wealth and support for war and war preparations.
  27. She went to India to speak to Mother Teresa’s novices and received a cross from Mother Teresa worn by the Missionaries of Charity.
  28. Her last jailing was in 1973 at the age of 75 while protesting with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in California.
  29. She loved the beauty of the natural world and would seek out the quiet of a small beach cottage she owned on the shore of Staten Island.
  30. Her gravestone has engraved on it a design of loaves and fishes and the words “Deo Gratias” (“thanks be to God”).

NOTE: Above painting of Dorothy Day by Ruben Ferreira                       

To learn more about Dorothy and the CW movement visit this LINK

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LACW 2018 Día de los Muertos Altar

The LACW celebrates the Mexican tradition of El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) on November 1 & 2 (All Saints and All Souls Day in the Catholic tradition) to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of family, friends, and mentors who have gone before us. The altar usually stays up until just before Thanksgiving.

The top photo is our altar (Ofrenda) for 2018, right photo is house guest Alberto’s outside porch display. See more photos HERE.

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LACW Attends Black Lives Matter One Year Anniversary Protest Against Killer Cops

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, LACW, along with approximately 200 other citizens, attended the first anniversary of Black Lives Matter weekly protest, at L.A. County Hall Of (In)Justice, against L.A. County Prosecutor Jackie Lacey, who has yet to prosecute any LAPD officers or L.A. County Sheriff deputies for killing more than 400 Black and Latino citizens during her four year tenure, even when urged to by then LAPD Police Chief Charley Beck.

LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff Dept. have killed more of its citizens than any other city and county police agencies in the nation. See photos HERE

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Volunteers Needed

If you have free time on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, please consider volunteering at our soup kitchen. We are in need of weekday volunteers. We ask that volunteers arrive between 7:30 – 7:45 am and commit to 1 pm

We would love to have you join us to prepare and serve a hot meal to our sisters and brothers on Skid Row. One or two can come without a reservation, however, three to five people (max) are considered a group and we ask that you make reservations in advance. Please call 323-267-8789. Thank you.

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