Here are some follow-ups from the previous column:
Someone in our diocese has contacted me regarding the anti-racism team of the Illinois Conference of Churches. I hope that, in a later column, I can report on our activity.
No sooner did I write, joking about anti-racism activists and our need for superhero suits, than I discovered that DC Comics has published a young-adult graphic novel called Superman Smashes the Klan! We cannot forget that the story of the Man of Steel himself contains the theme of his being “alien” and “other.”
“We really ought to have superhero suits,” I have joked to fellow members of my ecumenical anti-racism team. I was trained in 2005 and 2006 to serve on a team called Illinois Christians Encountering Racism, part of the Illinois Conference of Churches. Our current membership is scattered widely across the state. We would love to have the power to convene a meeting by flying to some central location. We settle for audio and video conferencing.
A pandemic miscellany:
My parents, in assisted living in Decatur, found aggressive measures in their residence being taken relatively early. I am grateful for the management’s foresight. I have not seen Mom and Dad since early March. Needless to say, we keep in touch by phone.
After the death of Jean Vanier on May 7, 2019, I wrote about his groundbreaking work in establishing relationships with people with intellectual disabilities.
I in fact had a personal memory: Mr. Vanier had spoken to my seminary nearly 40 years ago. I felt the genuineness of his willingness to carry out this most important work.
It’s Oscar time!
I imagine that this note is surprising, coming from me. I do not see many movies. Regular readers of this column know that I am more into books than films. I am the type of person who, when I see a film based on a book I’ve read, find the film to be something of a cheat.
In recent days, I have seen a couple of obituaries of theologian Father Johann Baptist Metz, who died at age 91 on Dec. 2 in Muenster, Germany.
I recall having written a paper in my theology studies on the virtue of hope, and having referred to Father Metz’s thoughts on hope.
In my column of Sept. 29, I described a moment in high school in which my religion teacher, Sister Marie McCloskey, OSU, stressed that our God is passionate about the here and now as well as the hereafter.
As we learned from this publication in the Nov. 10 issue, Sister Marie died in New Orleans on Oct. 4 at age 105.
As I consider the passage of days in our calendar, I am primarily aware of the Sundays of the liturgical calendar and of the various saints who are honored on weekdays. But, peripherally, I am also aware of “National Days” of various things.
So, I went looking for a “National Pizza Day” and I discovered that pizza claims, not a day, but instead the entire month of October. So, if you have not properly observed National Pizza Month, it’s time to get started.
Many years ago, I was waiting to hear a speaker at a Diocesan Adult Education Conference in Springfield. I was seated in the front row, and other priests were sitting on either side of me. The chairs were rather close together, and I can imagine that I and my seatmates were looking quite uncomfortable.
The woman we were waiting to listen to came forward to us, shook our hands, and exclaimed: “Y’all look like a bunch of convicts!”
As our diocesan church prepares to restore the proper order of the sacraments of initiation, my parishes anticipated the need to have a number of our children “catch up” in the sense of having received all three sacraments: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. Therefore, last November, over 140 of our young parishioners, in grades 3-8, received the sacrament of confirmation from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. This was done at two different Masses on consecutive evenings at our neighboring parish, Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville, where we had ample space to do this “catching up.”