On Wednesday, March 31st a group of Ursuline Associates gathered at the Dorothy Day House at 620 Belmont Ave. to prepare and serve a meal. This is one of many Houses of Hospitality which were inspired by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. The Youngstown Catholic Worker Initiative is a group of faith-filled people who have been meeting for more than a year to put the principles of the Catholic Worker into practice and to establish a home where Christ’s Work’s of Mercy
are lived out on a daily basis. Since November 2009 groups and restaurants have been serving a hot supper to those who are hungry three times a week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Other Associates who are not in the pictures also contributed by preparing food. They are Mary Yvo Assion, Jean DiVincenzo, Carol Mentges, Peggy Mills, Rosemary Yaniglos.
Ursuline Associate, Colleen Flanagan shares her memories of her Father which led her to the Dorothy Day House: “I so enjoyed the humbling experience at the Dorothy Day House last night. I look forward to working more on that Ministry in my retirement!
If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you a little background as to my understanding of the homeless and the under-resourced.
My father was an independent Pharmacist in the Akron area. His drugstore was in the heart of the African- American section of downtown Akron. When I was a child growing up in Akron the homeless were referred to as “bums”, many of them lived under the high level bridge down the street from my father’s store. He gave them shelter from the cold and many meals. Mother would sometimes get a phone call to get some food ready to feed someone he was sending to our house that was in need of a hot meal.
He and the owner of the Cigar store on the corner and the pawn shop owner next door took it upon themselves to provide as much help for these men as their resources would allow. They had a standing agreement with the local funeral director down the street to provide a decent burial for those who died. The pawn shop owner provided decent clothing and Ray and dad provided the money for the burial.
One of our priests at St. Vincent’s, William Cosgrove was a close family friend. Father Cosgrove became Bishop Cosgrove and eventually was assigned to the Bellville Indiana diocese.
My father died at the young age of 66 in 1967. Bishop Cosgrove was not able to come for his funeral but did pay Mother and I a visit at our home. He shared with us at that visit that he never forgot what my dad told him as he was leaving our parish and also moving up in the church hierarchy, He said Ben told me ” As you move on and into positions of power, don’t forget about the people with the seat out of their pants and not a dime in their pockets. ”
Bishop Cosgrove hosted a huge Thanksgiving meal for the homeless and under-resourced at his Bellville parish every year during his tenure there as well as doing other social justice work in that area. He came back to the Cleveland Diocese in his retirement and Mom and I got to visit with him in Elyria before he died.
I am blessed to have been given such a wonderful example in my childhood of caring for the poorest of the poor. So, I see my current ministry in my parish’s Matthew 8:20 homeless program and the Dorothy Day house as opportunities to carry on a legacy given to me.”
The mission of the Catholic Worker Movement is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner and work to expose and eradicate the injustices, systemic and otherwise that plague the vast majority of our human family. If you would like more information visit the website: www.youngstowncatholicworker.wordpress.com