Peniel==Newsletter of Temenos Catholic Worker


Peniel–Where Jacob Wrestled With God

Newsletter of Temenos. Catholic Worker

July/August 2010
Fr. River Sims, Director



Journal of An Alien Street Priest: The First Pandemic

    It took John of Ephesus three years to get over the trauma he experienced, before being able to tell the story of the first pandemic beginning in 544 C.E. The pandemic that spread across the trade routes of the Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

    “Like the two edges of the reaper, it successively passed across the earth, and progressed without stopping.” He wrote of the cities stinking with unburied corpses and continued, “The mercy of God showed itself everywhere toward the poor, for they died first while everyone was still healthy enough–to .carry them away and bury them.”

    And then it all happened again 14 times throughout north Africa–because pandemics recur in waves, sometimes for as long as two hundred years.

    Today, we don’t know the full extent of the coronavirus pandemic or its future impact on our lives. But we do know that things we believed impossible became possible overnight.

        We may wonder what the role of believers of all faiths  is in this “cruel scourge.”

    It is still to feed the hungry, heal the sick, bury the dead,  and comfort those who mourn. Our role is to show compassion:

Compassionate Solidarity
When we think about the people who have given us hope and have increased the strength of our soul, we might discover that they were not advice givers, warners, or moralists, but the few who were able to articulate in words and actions the human condition in which we participate and who encouraged us to face the realities of life. . . . Those who do not run away from our pains but touch them with compassion bring healing and new strength. The paradox indeed is that the beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain. In our solution-oriented society it is more important than ever to realize that wanting to alleviate pain without sharing it is like wanting to save a child from a burning house without the risk of being hurt. It is in solitude that this compassionate solidarity takes its shape.

    And like John we are to tell the story of God’s mercy and goodness even amid unbearable grief.



As always we come to you begging. There are more people homeless, more people on the edge in need, and we are on the front lines. We provide food, clean needles, referrals, pastoral care and Sacramental ministry to 500 plus a month.  Our funds are down, so please pray, and reflect, and open your hearts and pocket books and give.

On our website: or pay

Through the Mail:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164

All Checks must be made out to
Temenos Catholic Worker.


Life is short.

We do not have too much time to gladden the hearts

of those who travel the way with us.

So be swift to love.

Make haste to be kind.

And the peace of God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–will bless you and be with you always.


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