Fr. Jack Conley CP has been a member of the team that is facilitating the Fall series, Waking Up: Conversations about Race with the Passionist Community. The team, which also includes Lissa Romell and David Horvath, has been using a circle model of conversation, stressing storytelling and deep listening as we describe our own experiences and struggles to move forward. Fr. Jack recently delivered a homily in his community where he "took a chance" to speak of how we can fail to learn when we avert our eyes.
"I am embarrassed — ashamed, to admit that I never heard story
(and I grew up in Chicago)
(Maybe it was simply succumbing to the temptation
to avert one’s eyes)
But I never heard the story of Emmett Till
until six years ago
When Laquan McDonald, 17-year-old African American
killed in Chicago on October 20, 2014
While McDonald was slowly walking away
the police officer unloaded 16 bullets into the youth,
most of them as he lay on the ground
We don’t need to demonize, nor bludgeon each other with guilt,
but we do need to enter into a crucial conversation, we need to talk about it,
because it’s pretty clear we have not talked about racism in the past.
Read Fr. Jack's full homily here.
Lest we forget.
Timor-Leste (East Timor), an island nation north of Darwin, Australia, is one of the world’s newest countries. It has a long history with the Catholic Church, beginning with its colonization by the Portuguese Dominican mission in 1556. Timor-Leste was under Portuguese rule until it joined other Portuguese colonies in declaring its independence on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded by Indonesia and struggled for independence until the international community finally responded in 1999. During the occupation, much of Timor-Leste’s already fragile infrastructure was destroyed, and even today the country is still recovering.
It was just then, when all seemed lost, and after both the humanitarian agencies of the International Committee of the Red Cross and that of the United Nations were thrown out of the country, that the world became aware of two marvelous initiatives and developments. In the midst of the carnage and destruction, the first powerful ray of hope came from the leaders of the Church. Priests, nuns, and other church workers, had constantly supported the people, 98% of whom were Catholic, in their quest for human rights, democracy, and self-determination.