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More than Words

A Casa Clara Catholic Worker on the Importance of Action

Patrick O’Meara is a retired information technology professional. His longtime community service involvement includes diocesan, non-profit, and Santa Clara County organizations. He has served as a member of both the pastoral council and the peace and justice group at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in San Jose. He has volunteered with Village House, an interfaith rotating shelter program in Santa Clara County. A current board member of two local non-profits – Neighborhood Hands, which employs the homeless for park service duties, and Casa de Clara Catholic Worker – he spends his Thursdays at Saint Leo’s Church, where he assists with Catholic Charities’ food distribution. He and his wife are members of St. Martin of Tours parish.


Tell me about your ministry or role within the ministry at Casa Clara Catholic Worker and how long you have been involved.

I have known of Casa de Clara Catholic Worker for about 20 years but have only volunteered directly with them as a board member for the last two years. I am presently treasurer of the organization.

How has your role in your ministry impacted you spiritually?

Catholic Worker houses are inspirational places as the workers are devotees of the Gospel. I am in awe of the dedication and focus to aid members of our community in need. It certainly motivates me to do more.

What do you wish others knew about your ministry, its mission, and the clients who come to Casa Clara?

I am sure that many Catholics (and folks generally) are unaware of the existence of Casa de Clara. I wish more people were aware of the works of mercy performed by the workers. These services include food and clothing distribution as well as housing for those in need. Additionally, the mobile shower provides the homeless people living in camps with an avenue for clean hygiene. While some members are also involved civically and politically, perhaps more importantly, there many spend their waking hours devoted to daily helping the poor.

When have you been/or are you the most inspired and most challenged in your ministry?

I have been most inspired by the confidence shown by the Catholic workers whom I have encountered, people who give of themselves moment-by-moment, so that others less fortunate can live a better life. Seeing that sort of ministry in action makes me realize that, frankly, every item in my life that I have considered a burden is really nothing in comparison.

Why is this ministry important to you personally? Why should it be important to all Catholics?

It's personally important to me that Jesus' message in the Gospel, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me," has some meaning in my life and in the lives of all members of our society. Being a Catholic or a member of any other religion without that Gospel value, without being centered on helping others in a practical sense, seems a bit worthless to me, and it makes being a part of a faith tradition more like a social club rather than a service entity.

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