1988 April 16 – 4nd Sun Easter (Prison Writings)
88 04 16 – 1st Report from Jail
I just can’t tell you how important the pre-trial Eucharistic Celebration and Reception was for my spirit. I must thank again all who helped put it together and those who showed up. The Spirit was truly moving that night. It will help keep me going in the barren times ahead. There were no real surprises at the trial. As if following a script we got to make our statements and the court fulfilled its obligation. Though only a few were allowed in the courtroom, I felt the presence of the many who stood in the hallways and the many more who held us in prayer.
Right now five of us are being held in the Douglas County Jail in Omaha awaiting transfer to some undisclosed Federal Prison. The transfer could take place at any time, tonight or a week from tonight. The conditions here are good. This is one of the better county jails I have been in. Not much has changed since I was here five years ago except it is more crowded. The old library is now another inmate mode. The new library is in a much smaller space. The news media coverage of the trial has made me a sort of celebrity with the guys in my unit. They call me “Father” or “Padre”. The young man I share a cell with is much troubled. A good nature, but easily influenced. His worst influence is his own family. Father and brothers are seasoned cons. It will be difficult for him to separate himself from his family ties. Sad life when your own family is your worst enemy. I went to a communion service today. I’ve asked to be able to celebrate the Eucharist but was denied. I will keep asking.
HACKSAWS, CROSSES AND OTHER THINGS: Paul Lovell’s hacksaw cross stole the headlines in the Omaha World Herald and the Des Moines Register the day after the trial. The newspapers showed more concern for a cross made of used hacksaw blades than they have of us sitting in jail attempting to alert the community to the nuclear peril we are living under. The press often chooses
the sensational over substance. The hacksaw-cross was hardly an instrument of escape, more a symbol of faith. Discredited and trivialized, the image-makers have done their job. The troublemakers are safely locked up, out of sight, and out of mind. Not so . . not so!!! We didn’t ‘t cross the line for the headline we crossed the line for the soul of our nation. A change of heart is needed, a total conversion. They say the blood of the martyrs converted the Roman Empire and it will be the sacrifices of the peacemakers who put an end to war. More next week – much love.
P.S. Paul – I never told the U.S. Marshal’s that you were an ex-convict.
*Fr. Frank is being “processed” in Oklahoma as of April 20,. He will then be sent to the Marian Federal Prison in Marian, Illinois. No address as yet.