1987 Jan 11 – Baptism of the Lord (Bulletin Letters)
THE TRAVELING AND PROTESTING PRIEST: I’m about to embark on my winter vacation. My travels will take me to Des Moines, Minneapolis, Collegeville, Grand Forks back to Logan for weekend duty and a return trip to Des Moines.
I start my trip by going to Des Moines to talk to several Dowling High School classes on Monday, January 12th. I also hope to meet with the Bishop while I’m there. I will pickup Norman Searah from the Des Moines Catholic Worker for the journey north. Norman is my trusted sidekick and traveling partner. From Des Moines we go to Minneapolis to spend a night with friends on the 13th.
We will head for St. John’s University in Collegeville on the 14th to spend a few days with Richard Bresnahan, The Potter. Richard has lined me up to speak to his January class. I’m looking forward to spending time in the woods surrounding St. John’s and help clear some of the land the Potter has bought for his future home and studio, a beautiful track of land within eyesight of the campus.
Norman and I will then travel to Grand Forks, North Dakota, to participate in a demonstration at the Grand Forks SAC AFB. The Grand Forks AFB is the command center for all of N.D.’s l5l0 Nuclear War Heads. They say that if N .D. ever seceded from the union, it would be the third most powerful Nuclear Nation in the world. The demonstration wi1l take place on Monday, January 19th to honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s National Holiday.
I plan to participate in the blockading of the main gate. Similar efforts in the past have resulted in arrest and one to three days of jail time. This should give me plenty of time to return to Logan for my weekend Masses on January 24 and 25.
Norman and I will return to Des Moines on January 26th so we can take part in a demonstration at the Des Moines Army Reserve Center on Tuesday, January 27th. The Des Moines Army Reserve Center houses the 372nd Engineering Command, one of the Army units participating in the “Blazing Trails” operation in Honduras. A Religious Task Force of the Iowa Pledge of Resistance is organizing a rally and civil disobedience at the Center to protest the U.S. war in Central America and our Iowa connection.
In both demonstrations, I will be doing non-violent civil disobedience. In North Dakota I don’t expect to do more than three days jail time, which will take place during my vacation days. In the Des Moines effort there is every indication that the C.D.er’s will receive a ‘Ban & Bar’ letter or some kind of citation. Of course, there is no guarantee of how the authorities will handle us. In my best judgment, neither of the efforts will result in extended jail time. Still, your concern and prayers are most welcome.
WHY TAKE THE RISK FATHER? There is an ongoing struggle inside me in regards to such activities. There is a risk involved that could take me away from my ministry here in Harrison County. I would prefer to be taking such risk on behalf of farmers, but there is little interest in such efforts at this time. So why do I go out of my way to participate in demonstrations? [Grand Forks in January is about as ‘out of the way’ as one can get.] Given my history, my reading of the times and my understanding of what it means to be faithful, regular participation in some form of resistance is a necessity for my Spiritual well being. It is part of my spiritual centering, which allows me to serve and minister with an open heart.
PLEASE WELCOME: Fr. Pat Casey, the Vocations Director of the Oblates who will be celebrating the Eucharist with you next weekend. Pat will be giving a pitch for vocations. Please welcome him and his message.
YOU ARE GENEROUS GIVERS! Close to $100 was collected at the Christmas Masses for St. Anthony’s shelter. Thank you for your generous response. You are good people and I’m lucky to be here serving you.
P.S. A special thanks to St. Anne’s Parish Community for the new set of tires for my car, a much needed Christmas gift.
“Violence as a way of achieving justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humil-iate the opponent rather than win understanding. It seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes (sister and) brotherhood impossible. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutalizes the destroyers.”
Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.