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Showing posts from 2021

Views "from Space:" the Prisoner of Conscience

Draft resisters Fr. Tony Mullaney, Jim Forest and John Bach endured federal sentences savoring the victory of permanently effacing the War Department’s draft record, sparing lives. Forest would call his year in prison a sabbatical. When he received a NASA photograph of Earth through the prison mail, Forest contemplated it for hours. Bach, recalled his "draft bit" an ideal compared to the floating space station Metropolitan Correctional Center. The maximum security prison was “a Bicentennial metaphor,” he wrote to supporters, for how out of touch the country was, the best it could see to make off the poor while it waged fronts increasing the gap of the rich and poor, sustaining “a permanent war economy, a permanent national security, a permanent emergency.” Eleven stories up from “Park Row” in New York City, he felt so isolated the street might as well have been in Paris or Rome. By then  Forest was on a caper in Paris with a friend climbing the roof of the Chartres cathedral.

Participatory Emotion in Activist Prison Writing

“This is a lesson in style, not in participative emotion” Vladimir Nabokov said, giving a lecture on Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Even the most pathetic passages of the prison conditions were not emancipatory ethical tracts or polemical dirges eliciting an "participative emotion," pity. But shown as real texture, evocative features.    In case of arrest in DC as part of the Poor People's Campaign, I summon a temperature of support for childcare from friends during an after school playdate. Immediately I'm asked, admiringly, justifying "the lack of effect?" Prison is relaxing, presuming the subjectivity of becoming, the unfolding-self that becomes a self in relation with prisoners of conscience who have walked before you, a relation in Kierkegaard's  Sickness Unto Death  that ultimately refers to God. Yes, the Dakota Access Pipeline now chug-lops through sacred lands while Water Protector Jessica Reznicek  writes of "battling depression" an

Books for building our block

  From the practical to the political and prosaic, here are my top picks.  Home Improvement Heather J. Paper,  Built-Ins Idea Book .  The Taunton Press, 2017. (Minuteman Library Network records linked.)  Neighborhood  What's neat about that new manhole on Partridge street, or the graffiti under the bridge? Spike Carlsen's,   A Walk Around the Block : Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About)  New York: HarperCollins, 2020.  Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement. Eds. Mary Davis Fournier and Sarah Ostman. Chicago: ALA, 2021.  For kids  Jarrett Dapier and Eugenia Mello,  Jazz for Lunch .  Atheneum, 2021.  Mo Willems,  Knuffle Bunny Free .  New York: Balzer, 2010.  History/Biography (For Martin Luther King Jr. Day)  Audio CD available of this biography by Tufts Professor Kerri K. Greenidge,  Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter .  New York: Liv

Novena of Gratitude

  The Mass will also be livestreamed at  http:// live Starting on Monday, November 29 (the anniversary of Dorothy Day's death), please join us in praying a  Novena in Gratitude  which will culminate on December 8. Each day's meditation will be posted on the Guild's website ( ) and FB. 

Church in the Streets: Case Study of Cesar Chavez

  We're expecting to house refugees, people fleeing from Afghanistan. The roots of our effort is nourished in prayer as a community with these principle passages from Scripture:  “You shall treat the alien who resides among you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself, for you too were aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Lev. 19:5) “What you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.” (Matthew 25) “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2) In light of the Paulist Center Immigration Advocacy Group, and considering Pope Francis's invocation of a synod on the theme of synodality in the life of the Church, I've endeavored to compile sources of Catholic Social Teaching. It could be a working t heory of change, as I've written on this blog, in a time of listening . Overview: Sources of Catholic Social Teaching include but are not limited to Biblica

Angel Unawares: Catholic Social Teaching on the Right of Migration

Arts , On Campus Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz made a replica of the 3.8-ton, 20-foot long sculpture “Angels Unawares.” Pictured here at Boston College which housed this piece of art for the month of November, 2020. Depicting a crowd pressing together seeking a step forward, some of the figures depicted include Jesus, Mary, and Joseph fleeing to Egypt, a Cherokee walking the Trail of Tears, an Irish man leaving the potato famine, a Jew fleeing Nazi Germany, a Polish woman fleeing communism, a Muslim escaping civil war in Syria. Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants is depicted, as well as an angel assembled in following, showing God’s presence amidst people's movement toward better lives for themselves and their families. A current event Oct 24, 2021 that invites papal reaction: “Don’t Send Migrants Back to Libya and ‘Inhumane’ Camps.”   Pope Francis’ en

Theory of Change in a time of listening

A Time of Listening Listening. The ancient expect us to listen. The seven generations who will come expect us to listen. Prayer with the Early Church emphasized the twofold path of prayer and love as a conversation. Abba Poemen said, “Not understanding what has happened prevents us from going on to something better.” ( The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, trans. Benedicta Ward, S.L.G., rev. ed (London and Oxford: Mowbray, 1981), p200. If we listen to the injuries of our neighbor, if we listen to the injuries of generations of trauma, we can begin to make change. And in this way, as I've written, we can become a church in the streets . We come to our advocacy for immigrants informed by outrage, lament, and renewed conviction. Charged to confront structural violence, police murder of George Floyd, endemic inequity, we carry in penance as a community a great task of moral import. For months, absorbed, allowing our advocacy to pause, we took up the scriptures