Note from Albert Schorsch, III: This preamble incorporates passages from the FH Illinois corporate charter and from earlier preambles from the early 1950's. It was revised and updated in November of 1987. Your observations and comments are welcome.




containing revisions current to 11/87.


We, the family of Friendship House, in order to spread the Good
News of Jesus Christ not only in word but in action; to promote the personal, religious, and social well being of all persons; to establish equality and mutual respect among people of differing races, creeds, social classes, cultures and sexes; to bring justice to the social order; and basing our actions upon the Scriptures, upon the social teachings of the Catholic
Church, upon the writings of our founder, Catherine de Hueck Doherty,and respecting the nonviolent philosophies of M.L. King, M.K. Gandhi,Buddha and others, join together our hearts, our minds, our souls, andourselves for the glory of God and the salvation of all.

We are a Catholic interracial apostolate and center for nonviolent
action. We are Catholic because the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be separated from the Church He founded and which has been passed on to us through His apostles. We are catholic because of Jesus' universal call to love and reconciliation. We are interracial because active,systematic reconciliation of peoples through the living Gospel of Jesus is the foundation of hope for any peace. We are an apostolate because it is the call of apostles to call other apostles; we recognize that peacemaking is a lifetime commitment, and we pray that the Lord send others to this work.

Our approach is based upon the ancient Christian evangelical
counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and we attempt to realize these in our work together by simplicity, community, and reconciliation in justice.

The principal means we use to bring Christ's justice and love is the establishment of an interracial center in a community where segregation, poverty, social tension, or ethnic diversity and a need for reconciliation prevails. The center will make the Christian life--its justice, love, and corporateness--visible to all social groups, and through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy attempt to create as close a companionship with
the life of the people in the community as possible. Our call follows Christ's teaching from Matthew 25, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me."

Two broad efforts will radiate from our center: an educational
effort to reaffirm both the human dignity and rights of all, and the profound unity among all persons established by our common Creator and intensified by Christ our common Savior and our common Brother;and a practical effort to bring the spirit of Christ's justice and love to bear on the attitudes, law, customs, and institutions of our time inasmuch as they have been corrupted by prejudice, hatred, discrimination, and economic forces, thus degrading the lives of men and women. Nonviolence is our
tool for action.

The center will attempt to cooperate with the local Bishop, and,
if possible, establish a role of chaplain or other go-between the Bishop and FH.

The Friendship House religious practice is modelled after the
simple Christianity practiced by the early Church of Acts 2:42. The early Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles' instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and prayers." A schedule will be established so we can follow these practices.

We work not only for God's Kingdom in heaven, but that his
Kingdom may come on earth. To this end we attempt to put the
Beatitudes into action.

We view learning skills, language, possessions, and influence as
swords to be beaten into plowshares. Our method is our own adaptation of the nonviolent methods of M.L. King, M.K. Gandhi, and others, our own adaptation of the "methode d'enquette" of Joseph Cardijn and suggested by John XXIII, not as a cookbook approach, but as an attempt to sharpen our knowledge, our judgment, and our capacity for sustained peaceful action.

We hold to no formal ideology exclusive of the Scriptures and
Church teaching. Injustice and suffering are systemic to human societies and Christ gives a peace that the world cannot give. Nevertheless, we will work on any program of social good that does not contradict the Gospel, although we look toward fundamental societal change. We hold to no strict doctrine of capitalism, socialism, communism, anarchism, etc. And we avoid becoming elitists or fanatics by recognizing that we do not have
the ultimate answers, we just try to do what we can.

Each of our efforts aim to share our decisions, our strengths, and
our weaknesses. We wish to "teach others to fish" as well as feed them with fishes. We recognize that each of use has a special calling and gifts that we can share in following Christ, in whom there is no East of West, Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free.

Each house will be constituted under the authority of the Bishop
and will be subject to him as Christ in his diocese. Guiding and directing the spirit of each house will be a chaplain who serves with the permission of the Bishop of the dioceses

Common spiritual life of Friendship House will be built upon daily
Mass for all members, a daily life of work dedicated to Christ, a daily period of meditation, the recitation of Prime after breakfast, and Compline after supper, an annual retreat of at least three full days,and at least four days of recollection throughout the year. Each member will select a personal spiritual director, or have a regular confessor.

These paragraphs and the By-Laws which follow constitute the
spiritual charter of Friendship House. They establish both the spirit of Friendship House and the framework through which, it is prayerfully hoped, the spirit will take flesh and blood.

This religious constitution of Friendship House and its By-Laws
are offered to the Holy Spirit, imploring Him to vivify them at every moment,for without Him we can do nothing.

(the rest of the Constitution is in another document)