The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — After surveying the unmet needs of Iowa City’s poor, a lay group has received the blessing of Bishop Martin Amos, Father Rudolph Juarez and other church leaders in the Diocese of Davenport to form a Catholic Worker community.
Catholic Worker communities exist in other parts of the diocese, but this would be the first in Iowa City.
The group must raise $40,000 by July 1 in order to take possession of a historic Victorian property in a disadvantaged, southeast side neighborhood and convert it into a house of hospitality to provide community meals and shelter persons in need.
The Catholic Worker Movement was founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin to demonstrate corporal works of mercy including housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, visiting the prisoner, speaking truth to power, and bearing witness to injustice.
“Last year, during his historic address to Congress, Pope Francis challenged all Americans to follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Day,” said lay group members Emily Sinnwell and David Goodner in a joint statement. “We are answering his call and invite everyone with a heart of mercy to join us and help build the Iowa City Catholic Worker from the ground up.”
The Catholic Worker group has spent months consulting with clergy, city staff, service providers, social workers, school board members and Iowa City-area residents to formulate a plan that will bring value-added services to the area without duplicating existing work. For example, a Shelter House already exists in Iowa City, but it does not provide housing specifically for refugee resettlement, a program area the Catholic Workers are exploring in coordination with the diocesan Office of Social Action.
Persons wishing to help with the campaign can do so by making a donation or by getting involved.
Checks can be made out to “Iowa City Catholic Worker” and mailed to Iowa City Catholic Worker c/o St. Patrick Church, 4330 St. Patrick Dr., Iowa City, Iowa 52240.
Volunteers and prospective community members can express their interest through emailing their name, address and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.