Works of
           Mercy
      Community
      Nonviolence

      Contact
      Empty Bowl
      History
      Mailing List
      Newsletters
      Photos

      Finances
      Volunteer
      Links
 

History

Inspired by the life of Jesus and the communion of Saints, the Catholic Worker (CW) movement was brought to life in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Dorothy, a journalist, social activist and convert to Catholicism had a providential meeting with Peter, a French peasant, Christian philosopher. Together they weaved a tapestry of ideals and practices that breathed new life into the potent message found in the social teachings of the church. Their radical interpretation of the Christian message took hold of the hearts and minds of people in search of a way to in flesh the deepest promptings of the human soul- to live compassion and mercy. Since its beginnings the CW movement has grown steadily finding expression in hundreds of communities in the USA and abroad.

Julia Occhiogrosso and Rick Chun founded the Las Vegas Catholic Worker in 1986. Commissioned by the Los Angeles Catholic Worker (LACW), the LVCW was to be the first of many sister houses born out of the tutelage and support of the LA house. Julia Occhiogrosso first came out to the Nevada Desert during the Nevada Desert Experiences’ Lenten Desert Witness at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Ten days of prayer and vigiling at the test site inspired Julia to encourage the LACW community to participate with Nevada Desert Experience's ongoing nonviolent peace actions at the Test Site. The LACW began to organize groups to come out from LA to join in peace actions at the test site.

During this period the LACW was also in a process of clarifying their mission and was influenced by the test site experience to identify their mission as one of helping to start other CW houses, the first being St. John the Baptist House in Las Vegas. This house would devote itself to serving the hidden poor of glamour city Las Vegas as well as to support a faith-based nonviolent campaign to bring an end to the testing and development of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site.
In August of 1986, Julia, Rick Chun and other volunteers from the LACW community trekked out to Las Vegas to renovate a small house at 1309 Gold Street. Within in a few months the house was up and running with a Newsletter, Manna in the Wilderness, coffee line for day laborers, liturgies, hospitality and “stop nuclear testing” vigils at the federal building.

In 1991 Gary Cavalier, a Catholic Worker from San Louis Obispo, came to Las Vegas to support the Las Vegas house. He and Julia were married in 1995. Together with their two sons and the family of CW volunteers they continue to experiment with the grand adventure of living the hope of the Catholic Worker vision.

In 1986 Gold Avenue became the first home for the Las Vegas Catholic Worker Community



St. John the Baptist House relocated in 1989 to a larger house on West Van Buren Avenue



Another hospitality house was built in 2003 next to the Saint John the Baptist House




Gary & Julia on the morning of the adoption of their sons Jonathan and Nicholas - May 1997
     
500 West Van Buren Avenue -  Las Vegas, Nevada 89106 - Map
(702) 647-0728 - mail @ lvcw.org