Whoever You Are, You’re Welcome Here
At Catholic Worker Hospitality House we are blessed with a great diversity of guests and volunteers: African-Americans, Anglos, Latinos from many nations, Filipinos, Chinese, and Pacific Islanders to name a few. We revel in the diversity of our guests and use humor to show the absurdity of intolerance. Most mornings when I open the dining room I “ostracize” one group and welcome and other: “no white guys today, only Filipinos” or “No Mexicans. Oh, you’re Salvadorean? Well, come on in.” I can joke because everyone is in on the joke—it is a joke about the world and about all of us. For twenty-one years we’ve welcomed all who come to us in need.
I’ve always been inspired by the signboard at Bethany Presbyterian Church in San Bruno, which reads: “Whoever you are, you’re welcome here.” It’s a lovely sentiment that the congregation faithfully embodies. We too strive to embody this ethic at Catholic Worker Hospitality House. While we do our best to treat everyone fairly and equally, we put a little more effort in welcoming the immigrants, especially those with a language barrier. My Spanish is limited and my knowledge of Chinese consists of three words, still it’s easy to get across that a person is welcome and accepted. I think this is why our guests not only put up with my silliness, but join in the fun themselves. When I open the door, Juan will often say “no Mexicans, no Mexicans” and then is the first one in the door. But my favorite was when Kathy, a chronically homeless woman, said “no homeless today!” What all this joking highlights is that race or national origins really don’t matter. We are all one in the eyes of God.
“Whoever you are, you are welcome here.” This extreme inclusiveness is inspired by the life of Jesus. In reading the gospels it seems Jesus is always breaking some religious or societal norm by reaching out to and welcoming the alien, the outcast, and the undesirable.
Whether it’s a hated and feared Roman soldier, tax collector, prostitute, or leper Jesus acknowledges them before others. He shows love and acceptance, and in the process brings about healing and reconciliation. People who were outcasts are welcome back into the community.
While we haven’t healed any lepers or walked on water, we do try to be like Jesus in our daily work by practicing radical hospitality–welcoming all as unique and precious children of God. And in the process we have created a polyglot community where everyone is accepted regardless of their skin color, national origin, native tongue, dress, or illness.
As always, we give thanks for your past support of our work with those in need and plead for your continued support. It is through such generosity that we are able to continue being a presence of radical hospitality.
For all of us at Catholic Worker Hospitality House
- Canned soup
- Sugar (White and brown)
- Soap and shampoo
- Forks and spoons
- Money, for our ongoing expenses
WE NEED BLANKETS
Summer is here, which means it’s time to break out the blankets and warm clothing. Ah, life in San Bruno.
The wet winter and spring has depleted our supply of blankets and sleeping bags. Could you pass on your old and unused blankets to replenish our supply? Your generosity will enable us to have plenty of blankets for our shelter guests and to provide warmth to our dining room guests who are either sleeping in their car or outside.
WE GIVE THANKS
At Catholic Worker Hospitality House we realize that our work is made possible by your generosity. For the past twenty-one years we have been able to be a stable source of succor for those in need in our community because of your kindness. For the past twenty-one years we have been able to dream of and enflesh new and innovative projects because of your kindness. We are thankful and humbled by this faithful support. From all of us at Catholic Worker Hospitality House we say: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.