We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Picnic

I want my life

To run direct into your embrace,

Not turning aside

Until I am hidden in the safety of your gaze.

Augustine, Confessions 13.8.9

One afternoon while I was at a halfway house I received a surprise visit from Frank. Per usual, I had my head in a book when the loudspeaker on my floor blared, “Resident Christopher Spicer, please come to the 105 desk. You have a visitor.” I shook my head out of the rural world of William Faulkner. “Room 408, please come to the 1-0-5, immediately.” As I spun off the bed Light in August flung out of my hands, and was replaced by the doorknob. I turned the corner like I was the emergency exit route bolted on the back of the door and whirled down the red stairs two at a time. I had no idea who had come and it didn’t matter; someone had come to visit me.

At the front desk a stern staff member reminded us that it wasn’t my official visiting day but was resigned to give us fifteen minutes to talk. Frank’s face, for whatever arrangements he had made in sacrifice, showed no sign of disappointment. His sunny disposition brought relief and it lingered with me even as I climbed the stairs back to my hermitage. I looked out my window at Sears Tower anticipating our next meeting Sunday when I had a two-hour, release pass to attend church.

Come time, I stepped out of the Salvation Army residence. Wearing a tan collared shirt embroidered Engineers Without Borders, Frank was waiting for me in the parking lot with the engine running. “Instead of finding some cafĂ©,” he said checking his watch, “I made breakfast. We can eat in the park before Mass.” The Volvo interior was a contrast to the caged buses of the Bureau of Prisons; I wasn’t handcuffed; and in cup holders within reach, two berry smoothies sweat condensation. “That’s for starters.”

Who does this?

A twinge of guilt suspended my delight. I felt bold trespassing the hour fast, custom before communion. On the other hand, his preparation was touching me to the core. He rebutted my thanks with, “I’m a Catholic Worker and visiting the prisoner is in our creed.” Minutes later, sitting with a view of yoga practitioners limbering up on a grassy knoll, I watched as he pulled out from sealed Tupperware homemade pancakes still steaming, real butter and hot syrup, then blueberries and fresh sliced plums. It was the first time in six months I held plates in my hands and real silverware; and only beginning to enjoy sunlight for the fifth time in the fifth month, the picnic scene was like outdoor dining at a four star country club.

Frank consecrated our meal with prayer centering us in the Easter season. Bigger than the both of us, something larger than a visit or even a work of mercy was happening; we were celebrating a resurrection meal. And during seconds, I learned Frank had planned one more surprise: Friends would meet us at Mass.

Monday, August 15, 2011

a traveler's prayer

Dear Spirit on the Move,
Tent of Covenant,
Desert of Faithfulness,

Be with me in the packings and unpackings of my life:
Packing bags with tools for journey
Packing weeks with invitations for love
Packing initiative with dreams of unity
Packing conversations with glimpses of authenticity
Packing prayer with surrender to peace.

Grant that I may never seek so much to be gone as to stay;
To attract attention as to offer presence;
To evade as to abide.

May my life continue to be an unpacking of the mysteries that await in the adventure of inward movement towards outward solidarity alongside the reluctant strangers and holy companions with whom I am graced to exchange hospitality.

Be not far from me, as my travels and trials become chapters of the biography of my homecoming to where I've been -- in You -- all along.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Nuclear Resisters-Michael Walli

This letter comes from Michael Walli, jailed until sentencing after 5/10/11 federal conviction for trespass at Y12 nuclear weapons complex, 7/5/2010.

[Written on Pax Christi Card with Jubilee Pledge and Prayer]

Variety is the Spice of Life/But make sure Jesus is your Spicer…May the Holy Spirit of Jesus Indwell in you!

Jubilee Pledge

As disciples of Jesus in the new millennium,

I/We pledge to:

PRAY regularly for greater justice and peace.

LEARN more about Catholic social teaching and its call to protect human life, stand with the poor, and care for creation.

REACH across boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, gender and disabling conditions.

LIVE justly in family life, school, work, the market-place, and the political arena.

SERVE those who are poor and vulnerable, sharing more time and talent.

GIVE more generously to those in need at home and abroad.

ADVOCATE for public policies that protect human life, promote human dignity, preserve God’s creation and build peace.

ENCOURAGE others to work for greater charity, justice and peace.

Prayer to Become Jubilee People

Father of Time, Mother of Creation, we thank you for the gift of Jubilee that sanctifies both time and space. During this Great Jubilee at the dawn of the new millennium, teach us the wisdom of Sabbath rest for your earth and for the land of ourselves.

Teach us the wisdom of forgiveness of debts for those who cannot pay and for those we refuse to release. Teach us the wisdom of Jubilee justice to remind us that all we have belongs to you and to ensure that everyone has enough.

Teach us the wisdom of Jubilee liberation that we might free those who are oppressed and languish in captivity.

Strengthen our families, parishes, church and nation that we might truly become Jubilee people.


[Handwritten verses are numbered by the author. Margin inserts signaled by ^]

^*New York=Empire State

^*Georgia=Empire State of the South


  1. Fight school violence
  2. We’re on the $kid$
  3. Careful what you teach our kids
  4. The three Rs are OK and ABC
  5. But Keep out the horror$ of ROTC
  6. King George III thi$?
  7. George Wa$hington that?
  8. A que$tion of changing
  9. An empire hat*
  10. The US had it$ Goerge$ Three
  11. God $ave the people
  12. From crazed monarchy
  13. Tippecanoe and Tyler too?
  14. Antichri$t warmonger$
  15. Bring $orrow to you
  16. Remember the Alamo?
  17. That happened a century
  18. And a half ago
  19. And gave U$ half
  20. Of Mexico
  21. That inspired the Fuhrer
  22. To $hriek “lieben$room”!
  23. And kept the gun$ going
  24. Boom! Boom! Boom!

^”Western democracies as they function today are diluted forms of Nazism or fascism.” –Mohandas Koramchand Gandhi










I slept and I dreamed

That life is all joy

I woke and I saw

That life is all service

I served and I saw

That service is joy

--by Rabindranath Tagore, Early 20th Century Nobel Prize Winner in Literature

^”Without sacrifice there is no love” –Saint Maimilian Kolbe OFM

[Page 2]

  1. Refurbi$h Civil War $tatuary?*
  2. Better to have a
  3. Frontal lobotomy
  4. Reenactor$ of Yorktown
  5. Getty$burg and Bull Run
  6. Have a wor$e diploma
  7. Than tho$e who run
  8. Before the bull$ at Pamplona
  9. Remember the Maine?
  10. Give$ all of U$ pain
  11. Guam The Philippine$
  12. The Virgin Island$ Puerto Rico
  13. Guantanamo
  14. Remember Queen Lililukalani?
  15. How the Hawaiian$ lo$t Hawaii?
  16. That wa$ a Fine Aloha
  17. How do ya do ya?
  18. The war to end war$?
  19. Million$ of dead?
  20. The blood in the ground
  21. Make$ the poppie$ $o red
  22. Remember Pearl Harbor?
  23. Take a bath
  24. Let not the $un $ink down
  25. On your wrath

^”Nationalism is the childhood disease of the human race—it is the measles of mankind.”—Albert Einstein

^*Use the resources for the living who need it

^The Northerners call the 2 Civil War Battles in Loudoun County Virginia Bull Run. The Southerners call them Manasses. The ungodly heathens have costly reenactments to help them remember the carnage inspired by Satan. Why go to Pamplona to see the bulls run when you can go to Loudoun County and see 2 legged man asses?

Over 600,000 people died in the US Civil War. The mostly Christ confessing politicians and clergymen of the land did not prevent it. Those who fought the war and died as a result of the war were mostly Christ confessing and yet they did not resolve their differences according to Jesus’ New Testament.

^”Blessed are those who block their ears about the ‘news’ of evil communicated for profit.”

[Page 3]

  1. Land$lide Lyndon
  2. $tretched the truth a bit
  3. Hi$ Tonkin Gulf attack two
  4. Wa$ a crock of poo poo*
  5. Neither rhyme or rea$on
  6. Wa$ ever hi$ $ea$on
  7. Lady Bird Airline$ Flew the Troup$
  8. Thru all $ort$ of conflict
  9. Of Intere$t legal hoop$
  10. Pu$hing $mart bomb button$
  11. I$ $o unromantic
  12. The warrior$ fly away
  13. Leaving horror$ gigantic
  14. Body bag and war memorial
  15. Growth indu$try
  16. Future$ are up
  17. And will $tay $o until
  18. You find the Holy Grail Cup
  19. We mu$t now pur$ue
  20. The Doctor Kingian Way
  21. Guided mi$$iles and mi$guided men?
  22. They Ju$t do not pay
  23. Remembering $atan Keep$ you blue
  24. Jesus Christ makes all things new
  25. Beware of the pen$ion plan patriot$
  26. With flag$ unfurled
  27. Our citizen$hip is not
  28. of thi$ world

^Store your treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupt or corrode it.

^*As proven by existent US Government telephone recordings in national archives custody.

^Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon an Ernest Gruening of Alaska opposed the Tonkin Gulf resolution which illegally “enabled” President Johnson to expand the war in Vietnam/Indo-China. Senator Morse said at the time that the US would come to regret the Tonkin Gulf Resolution

^”We have guided missiles and misguided men.”—Dr. M.L. King Jr.

^”Suffering willingly endured is redemptive”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

^”Christ will come again, to undo the Antichrist, free the world, the Fatherland of Paradise.” –Saint Peter Chrysologous (450 AD) Doctor of the Church

[Page 3]

  1. Get off the highway
  2. Kingpin commander$ in chief
  3. Jesus is coming
  4. He come$ a$ a thief
  5. Patrioti$m i$ the refuge of a $coundrel*
  6. Don’t buy it! Don’t buy it!
  7. Purcha$er$ can expect their refund$ in hell
  8. For a Christmas tat every tot enjoys
  9. Eradicate all of tho$e helli$h war toy$
  10. Capitali$t$ Communi$t$ militari$ts nationalist$
  11. $atan $upplie$ their good$
  12. Evict the$e na$ty element$
  13. From all earth’$ neighborhood$
  14. From the tomb$ of the unknown
  15. Come a unifying voice
  16. Make obedience to God
  17. Your full armory of choice
  18. When you ring out your freedom
  19. As God’s children quite well
  20. The belfry$ altogether
  21. Will truly $ound Nobel

99. $atan with thy arm$ contract

100. Mammon be $purned

101. $tay wrapped up in Jesus

  1. And you won’t be burned
  2. Budgetary billion$ militarizing $pac
  3. Expo$e$ to the public
  4. $atan’$ ugly Face

^”Property owned communally is holy.” –Saint Gertrude the Great

^*Saying attributed to Samuel Johnson

^”Blessed are the peace makers for they are the ones who shall be called Children of God.”

^”I have unequivocally declared my opposition to this most colossal of all evils” Dr. King referring to antichrist nuclear weapons

[Page 4]

  1. Jesus Cross of Life
  2. I4 the Path well taken
  3. Leave all other$ totally For$aken
  4. Gandhi had a lot of
  5. Worthy thing$ to $ay
  6. Li$ten to hi$ coun$el$
  7. Or you have hell to pay
  8. (See*insert) The Warlord$ war by war
  9. Rake n multibillion$
  10. Ho hum $ay thee $cum
  11. They’re ma$$acreing civilian$
  12. There is Freedom to choo$e
  13. And it is our lo$$
  14. Until we elect
  15. The Way of the Cross


1. Politic$ without principle

2. Plea$ure without con$cience

3. Wealth without work

4. Knowledge without character

5. Bu$ine$$ without morality

6. $cience without humanity

7. Wor$hip without $acrifice

--Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

^The Sheep at Jesus Judgment are at His Right Hand. The goats at his Left Hand. Goats ilk is the richest Kind of dairy milk.

^Jesus is the Father of the world that is to come.

^Woe to you rich/You have had your reward

^The State of New York is nicknamed “The Empire State”/ The State of Georgia is called “The Empire State of the South”

^Judas betrayed Jesus the Prince of Peace into the hands of the militarists for money while giving Him lip service.

^The US has the hogs share of the many billions of dollars “worth” of military weapons sold each year on the antichrist international military weapons market sowing Satan’s harvest of death.

from Susan Crane

This letter comes from Susan Crane, serving 15 months beginning in 3/28/11 one of the Disarm Now Plowshares group convicted of felony damage to government property, conspiracy and trespass for cutting the fence and entering the nuclear weapons storage area at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, 11/2009. Susan mentions her prayer for the health of Nuclear Resister Jackie Hudson. Jackie died Aug. 3rd. See photo tribute here and Disarm Now Plowshares website for more information.

[Side 1 handwritten]

Hi Chris—Thanks for writing—glad you are out. Steve and Bix made sure I saw you there in the SeaTac visiting room. Thanks for your smiles!

...Have you had a chance to read Archbishop Chullikat’s talk on nuclear disarmament? It’s on the Disarm Now Plowshare website (or a link to it)—if you read it, you’ll want to join us out at Bangor!



[Side 2 typed]

July 25

Thanks for writing to me. I’ve been noticing that several letters arrive weeks after the postmark. Letters from Oakland that should take a day or two are given to me more than two weeks later. Apparently the mail room is a bit behind.

A couple of conversations have stayed in my mind recently. One was with the staff person in the laundry room. I had to go there to get my pants sewed up. The staff person recognized me as having been [t]here before, and asked why I was here. I said that I had been part of a peace action, and she said, in a discouraged voice, “there is no peace.”

Always looking for common ground I agreed. She continued: There won’t be any peace until there aren’t any starving people.

Had to agree again…we know that without justice, which includes some sort of fair distribution of resources, there won’t be peace.

Then I was talking with a young woman here who is just starting work at UNICOR. She has a job in telemarketing. They are selling magazine subscriptions—actually the magazine subscriptions are free, all the person has o do is give email, phone and physical address and they can get these trade magazines.

The woman said that she would do anything for money. She needs money, owes restitution and fines. I was interested in finding the line that she wouldn’t cross in the prusuit [sic] of money. Was there something she’d refuse to do? She was clear that there were no limits on what she would do for money. She would scam older people. Even your grandparents? No (finally, something she wouldn’t do), but other older people were fair game, as she didn’t know them.

Wow. Discouragement and a feeling of hopelessness about the world situation n on the part of some, and a lack of compassion on the part of some others.

I was talking to the Chaplain about how moral dilemmas can be used to teach moral reasoning and build compassion. He suggested that perhaps the Jesuits who come here for Mass could teach a course in ethics.

Right now there are some men in California prisons on hunger strike for better conditions in the SHU [Solitary Housing Unit]. Some have been in solitary for decades.

Everyday when I go outside, feel the breeze, get warmth from the sun, I think about Steve Kelly, SJ and Lynne Greenwald, who are both at SeaTac, and never get to go outside or see the green of a tree or a blade of grass. And I think of the y-12 resisters in the jail, in harsh conditions, and I think of Jackie, struggling for her health.

And of course, I think of the hard work that all of you are doing Keeping communities going, challenging the powers that continue to oppress us all.

I am doing well, still teaching ESL, still staying under the radar, being a good compliant prisoner. Makes me really search my conscience.

As I watch the owls, swallows and hawks fly in and out of the prison, and see the squirrels go through the razor wire and through the double fence, it shouldn’t surprise me that the Spirit moves through the fence and the walls and cement, and brings love and warmth to my heart. Makes me feel very small and humble.

I continue to try to listen to others, find what is good, and find lots to be thankful for.



Susan Crane Reg: 87783-011

Federal Correctional Institution Dublin

5101 8th St. Camp Parks

Dublin, CA 014568

from Lynne Greenwald

This letter comes from Lynne Greenwald, serving six months beginning 3/28/11 one of the Disarm Now Plowshares group convicted of felony damage to government property, conspiracy and trespass for cutting the fence and entering the nuclear weapons storage area at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, 11/2009

31 July 2011


Dear Chris,

What a nice gift, receiving your card this past week! I’m guessing your transition back into the community went well. I understand you’ve been to Central America and are familiar with transitions (did I read this in Nuclear Resister?). Anyway—thank you for your action and willingness to give up your “freedom” for awhile.

Seeing you in the visitation room was also a pleasant surprise, and kept me open to the unexpected here at SeaTac FDC.

I’ve been able to speak to Bix after his release, and to hear frequent updates. Last week a friend sent a photo of him back at Guadalupe House for Tues. night liturgy and dinner. I’m hoping he’s still free when I return home Sept. 9. Regardless, I’m grateful he had a safe journey home.

You may know that Jackie Hudson returned home to WA and is now in the hospital, very ill. She’s now off the respirator and will be starting cancer treatment soon. Although I’m able to keep in touch with Sue Abloo, Ground Zero, and Jackie’s long-time partner, I’m not able to be with them during this difficult time. I’m on the prayer vigil detail now.

I had a wonderful visit yesterday with my daughter, Alissa, her husband and their son. Jack is 1 year now—I’m o happy to have seen his growth over these past months. My oldest daughter will be here in a few weeks and will visit from San Fran. And my son visited the end of May before he started firefighting job with Dept. of Natural Resources.

Knowing how much I have, and how little time I have to serve, keeps me humble. I still receive much more than I could ever give.

Looking forward o returning to the Tacoma Catholic Worker, and my life at the Irma Gary House. I was living at and managing a small transitional house for women getting out of prison. I was under federal probation for a previous trespass charge when I lived there, and I’ll be under “house arrest” at the house for 2 weeks when I get out of FDC. No monitor, just have to check-in at nearby ½ -way house.

One thing about this brief experience, I’m enjoying sending and receiving letters. It’s especially exciting to hear stories of what others are doing to create a peaceful world. Hoping to learn more about your work too. I heard the perfect poem as I walked around the triangle of the upper tier, here in DA. Garrison Keeler on Writers’ Almanac, reading William Blake’s poem “Don’t Believe.” (I think). What sticks with me is the word from Jesus, “Believe.” My day is now filled with the hope and belief that peace is possible and I’m thinking of all those gathering to witness for a world without nuclear weapons this August.

Gabby letter—I guess I’ll slip back into the quicker e-mail habit soon, but hopefully not exclusively.

Take care and Shalom!


Federal Detention Center

Lynne Greenwald

Reg: 40672-086 Unit: DA

P.O. Box 13900

Seattle, WA. 98198-1090

As of Sept. 9:

Lynne Greenwald

Tacoma Catholic Worker

1417 South G. St.

Tacoma, WA 98405

What Comes-A letter from prison

What Comes? What Gives?

How can we mark the period of Aug. 6-9 in mourning for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki and nuclear weapons programming? To begin with, let us remember what is at stake: “One of the great temptations of our age is to view the world and its people and problems as complicated abstractions, remote from our lived daily experiences.”

Patrick McCarthy in “Sharing the Burdens” The Roundtable, Winter 1998

If abstraction requires the anecdote of daily kindnesses and deliberate sacrifices, so the rebuke of temptation requires mindfulness of our friends waging peace. I have received several letters from prisoners of conscience that I will share in the coming days. Maybe one way to mark this period in vigil is to sit with the words of these peacemakers and in our prayer keep them in view. As we feel moved, our community can offer observations of hope in response. For:

“We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread…” Dorothy Day.

This first is from Mark Kenney, serving six months beginning 4/27/11 found guilty of trespass at Offutt AFB, home of the Strategic Command, 8/9/10.


Dear Chris,

Thanks so much for writing and sending the beautiful card. It is almost a year since our action in Omaha last august 9th.

I have plenty of time to pray and fast here. I certainly will be praying for folks gathering at OFFUTT Aug (6-9). I am more than happy to include you in those prayers.

As far as feeling like having “Diseased attachments” and having a heart divided, well, that is truly all of our situation as followers of Christ on earth.

Amazingly enough, Jesus has such confidence in us, to be “wheat among the weeds”; to be non-materialistic among capitalists; to be non-violent among militarists; to be citizens of the kingdom of heaven amidst secular patriotism.

We/I fail over and over in our attempts to live up to the wonderful expectations our Lord has for us.

Fortunately, God is merciful, as we are to be merciful to each other. Jesus knew how incredibly difficult this would be. I beli[e]ve we have to be incredibly forgiving and much more greatful to each other in our weaknesses. For it is the meek who truly inherit the earth. It is truly the poor in spirit who have access to the kingdom of Heaven, we must be forgiving of others over and over. We must allow God to forgive us as we forgive others.

As Pope Benedict XVI express in his book Jesus of Nazareth; “the presence of Christ makes all the difference”. (I may be paraphrasing a bit here).

Peter Maurin always held, that the social teaching of the Church needed to be unleashed. Dorothy Day showed us how to express the heart of the Church through u[n]relenting hospitality.

Maybe you, Chris, can help the Church, the body of Christ; us, bear it’s very soul, by showing us how to be more merciful to each other amidst this terrible canondrum of choices life presents to us.

Sorry, I get a little preachy sometimes. Prison is a wonderful place to pray, reflect, and try to practice what we like to preach.

I wish you and all the folks at the White Rose Catholic Worker all the best. Enjoy the farm. I like to visit the Strangers and Guest Catholic Worker farm in Maloy, IA.

In Christ’s Peace

In Christ’s Solidarity,


Mark Kenney Reg #: 14018-047

Federal Prison Camp

P.O. Box 1000

Duluth, Minnesota 55814