Catholic Worker returns to Davenport, Iowa, after 20 years

Michael Gayman stands in front of a home he purchased in Davenport, Iowa, to open as a Catholic Worker house of hospitality. (CNS/The Catholic Messenger)

The Catholic Worker Movement, often described as a rag-tag effort to live out the Gospel precept of love of neighbor, has returned to Davenport, Iowa.

Michael Gayman, decided to purchase a house and offer hospitality after spending more than two years with a Catholic Worker community in California and deciding to return to eastern Iowa to be closer to family.

Barb Arland-Fye, editor of the Catholic Messenger, newspaper of the Davenport Diocese, reports that it’s been 20 years since a Catholic Worker house has been open in Davenport.

The house will be named the Oaks of Mamre Catholic Worker. Its name is connected to the story in Genesis (18:1-16) in which Abraham extends generous hospitality toward three strangers, not realizing that one of the three is God. Abraham’s compassionate act occurred near the great oaks of Mamre.

“We aim to keep alive hospitality as an ancient sacred code of conduct,” Gayman said in a letter to friends. “We will be offering food, and a place to rest along life’s journey.”

Pope’s summer program

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy — How does the pope spend his vacation? Most people would be right when they guess: reading, writing, playing the piano, walking, and praying. But who knew he also likes to feed the goldfish at one of the artificial pools in the gardens of the papal summer residence?

Thanks to footage released to news agencies by the Vatican Television Center, we got a sneak peek of some of the things the pope has been doing since he began his month-long vacation July 7 in this beautiful mountain town about 20 miles south of Rome.

The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, also published a rundown of the pope’s summer program just a few days ago saying the pope was enjoying a relaxing period dedicated to prayer and reflection. It said he also sets aside time to listen to or play music and take long walks in the afternoons with his personal secretary, Msgr. Georg Ganswein.

Because all public and private audiences have been suspended until Aug. 4, the pope has been able to catch up on a number of projects, most importantly, beginning work on his third and final volume of “Jesus of Nazareth.”

He’s also going through stacks of mail and preparing talks he will be giving on his upcoming trips to the United Kingdom, Sept. 16-19; Palermo, Oct. 3; and Spain, Nov. 6-7.

He’s also preparing for the Oct. 10-24 special Synod of Bishops on the Middle East as well as the apostolic exhortation from the World Synod of Bishops on the Bible.

Among the few special guests the pope will receive at the papal summer residence include his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the pope’s brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

From Aug. 28-29, the pope will host his traditional “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” (Ratzinger student circle) with former students of his. This year the topic will be the hermeneutic of Vatican II, a theme the pope talked about in his address to the Roman Curia Dec. 22, 2005. Here’s another interesting take on the topic.

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