The most recent edition of The Catholic Worker newspaper showed up in my mailbox during the middle of May. It's Volume LXXXVIII, No. 3, and is marked as the "88th Anniversary Issue" at the top of the first page. That's for those of us who don't deal well with Roman numerals.
When I checked online, where the Catholic Research Resources Alliance maintains an archive of past issues of the Catholic Worker, I found that the first archived edition that is available online is from December 1943, the month and the year in which I was born. I haven't been a subscriber for quite that long, but I have subscribed from 1971, at least. It is always a delight to get the latest version of the Catholic Worker, and it's still marked "Price 1¢." I recommend that anyone reading this blog posting subscribe as well. But send more than 12 cents for the year!
The May 2021, edition of the Catholic Worker features a front-page article by Robert Ellsberg. Titled, "Still So Old It Looks New," Ellsberg's article talks about the genesis of the newspaper - and about the Catholic Worker movement. You can read something about that on the Internet, too.
Ellsberg, who is sixty-six years old, has an interesting background. According to Wikipedia, he is the son of Carol Cummings, the daughter of a Marine Corps Brigadier General, and the American military analyst and whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg. In 1975, at age nineteen, he dropped out of college, intending to spend a few months with the Catholic Worker Movement. He stuck with it!
Ellsberg stayed on to become the managing editor of The Catholic Worker for two years (1976–78), a job that would introduce him to Dorothy Day and consequently would allow him to work with Day for the last five years of her life. This life-changing experience prompted him to convert to Catholicism. He returned to Harvard, and earned a degree in religion and literature, and later a Master's in Theology from Harvard Divinity School. He is now the editor-in-chief and publisher of Orbis Books, the publishing arm of Maryknoll.
I was very privileged to meet Dorothy Day myself, in 1971. I was at Union Theological Seminary, in New York City, and she very generously came to a student-led class I was teaching on nonviolent resistance. Those wanting to transform their lives should start looking into the life of Dorothy Day, and of her comrade and collaborator, Peter Maurin.
Maurin is famous for his "Easy Essays," which are often republished in the Catholic Worker. I'll reproduce one from the May 2021 issue. They are always good. And sometimes they are quite religious.
I, myself, don't count that as a negative.
By Peter Maurin
The Spirit of the Mass,
The Spirit for the Masses
The central act of devotional life
in the Catholic Church
is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The sacrifice of the Mass
is the unbloody repetition
of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
On the Cross of Calvary
Christ gave His life to redeem the world.
The life of Christ was a life of sacrifice.
The life of a Christian must be
a life of sacrifice.
We cannot imitate the sacrifice of
Christ on Calvary
by trying to get all we can.
We can only imitate the sacrifice of
Christ on Calvary
by trying to give all we can.
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