1992 – 1995 Pastoral Concerns Council Bluffs (6,400 words)
92 11 Prison Letter and Reflections from Fr. Frank Cordaro
Final Issue – November 1992
92 11 Pastoral Concerns – New Life in Council Bluffs
As I look to the future, I find myself filled with great excitement and promise for my new life and ministry in Council Bluffs. I will be the associate pastor at St. Patrick’s Parish and will work for and with Msgr. Ed Pfeffer, the pastor. I have known Ed for many years. A former Chancellor of the Diocese under Bishop Dingman, Ed has always been supportive of our efforts at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, as well as of me personally. He is one of the few priests in the diocese to cross the line at SAC (with Bishop Gumbleton in May of 1989). Ed has also been supportive during the times I’ve been locked up and frequently visited me in the Douglas Co. Jail and twice in Yankton.
Although we have yet to talk in detail about my duties and responsibilities, I am reasonably certain there will be plenty of traditional priestly parish ministry waiting for me when I arrive at St. Pats.
The bulk of my new life will be taken up with administering the Sacraments, celebrating the Eucharist, preaching the Word, visiting the sick and the home-bound, and getting to know the people of St. Patrick’s Parish community. All of this fills my heart with great expectation. Experience has taught me that it is through these everyday parish activities and ministries that I am renewed and sustained. During my years in Harrison County I learned to appreciate the very extraordinary privilege of being a parish priest. It is the daily routine and life cycle of parish life I am looking forward to the most.
One question that arises in my mind is how well I will adjust to life in a city parish with the greater demands imposed by the sheer number of people needing to be served. The move from rural to city ministry is significant. I will be looking to Msgr. Ed and my other brother priests in the area to help me in this adjustment. Still, I was raised in Des Moines, and I’m a city boy at heart.
An area of concern for me is how well I will manage the ongoing tension between my work for peace and justice and my duties and responsibilities in priestly ministry. At times I have felt like a split personality trying to follow the spirit and energies that moved me to peace and justice concerns while fulfilling the daily work of parish ministries. My efforts for peace and justice come from the basic baptismal call we all receive to be faithful. My duties and responsibilities tied up with my role as priest come from a call to serve the Church through my ordination. Ideally these two movements of the spirit, grounded in the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders, should complement each other. But we don’t live in an ideal world nor an ideal Church.
It should come as no great surprise that this tension between the prophetic and priestly energies exists in the Church. This tension within the faith community has been part of our salvation history since the time of Moses. All I know is I’ve been blessed with a healthy dose of both. For me I can’t do one without the other. Both are necessary and to my becoming the person God is calling me to be. Though it has been difficult and stressful at times to follow both paths, it has been in this tension between these two movements of the Spirit that I have experienced my most creative and life-giving ministry. I look forward to continuing this spiritual struggle during my time in Council Bluffs.
Dec. 13, 1992 – 3rd Week of Advent
Advent Greetings! Msgr. Ed asked me to write this weeks bulletin letter. From now on I will be writing a bulletin letter once a month. This will give Msgr. Ed a break and give me a chance to share with you on a regular bases.
Sunday marks my first full month of freedom. I have been swamped with the culture shock of re-entry. At first I was feeling over whelmed and anxious with the task of starting up in a new town and in a new assignment. I was mostly concern with how well I would be accepted by you. I have discovered to my great pleasure that my initial concerns have been dispel. The people of St. Patrick’s have been most welcoming. I’ve been taken back by the warm and receptive reception I have received. Many of the people I have met have made a point of expressing their pleasure with my joining the community.
I’m especially grateful to Msgr. Ed for his generous spirit and supportive backing. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be working for a ‘boss’ who sees me as an assist and a plus and who is willing to say so publicly! I could not ask for a better situation to be working.
Most of my initial energy has been taken up with the ‘nesting’ instinct, trying to get some control of my ‘stuff’ and my personal space. I’m living in a two room apartment at St. Francis Center, the priest residence here in C.B. I’ve now got my computer set up in my bed room, my books on book shelves and all my wall space covered with posters and ‘stuff’. I’m living with Msgr. Bob Chamberlin and Fr. Bud Grant who are both working at St. Albert’s H.S. There is also the “Common Cup” – an evening meal four nights a week for priest in the area – that takes place here at St. Francis. It’s a good time for priestly fellowship and catching up on what is happening in town.
My task at the parish have been mostly sacramental and ministerial; celebrating the Eucharist, preaching, visiting the sick and ‘shut ins’, participating in the Communal Reconciliation services and attending parish programs. Every day I’m meeting and getting to know more and more people in the parish.
After six months of captivity and back in parish ministry, I feel like a the parched desert the prophet Isaiah writes about in this weeks first reading:
“The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
The will bloom with abundant flowers and rejoice with joyful song!”
I wish to thank you all for the generous and welcoming spirit in which you have received me into your faith community. It is my hope and prayer that in the months ahead we can build on this bountiful beginning and come to know the Lord more fully in each other. In the true spirit of Advent let us be open to the surprises God has in store for us, for in every Christmas there is an element of surprise and the unexpected. This is an exciting time for me – as Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement use to say, “Beginnings are such fun!”
- I will be participating in this years “Feast of the Holy Innocents” gathering and witness at Offutt AFB. I will not be “crossing the line”. It is the 14th year of this observance. It has become an indispensable part of my Christmas observance. My participation in such efforts are not ment to be a put down of anyone, less of all the folks who work at Offutt. They are ment mostly to be an expression of hope and faith for the day and the time when such places are no longer needed, a way of lifting up the Reign of God not yet fulfilled in our mists.
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FRANK’S WHERE ABOUTS: I just completed my second full month of freedom and am enjoying myself to the fullest. I want to thank all who have help make me feel welcomed and supported here at St. Patrick’s. I have been keeping myself busy helping Msgr. Ed with the daily sacramental and ministry obligations within the parish.
I am also teaching a Social Ethics class twice a week in Jan. and Feb. out of the Buena Vista Center at the Ia. Western Community College here in Council Bluffs. With the money I earn teaching I hope make a trip to Central America in May. More on this latter. I have also been asked to give talks in the next few weeks to students at Ia. State, N.W. Mo. State and Creighton U. I all ways appreciate these opportunities to share with students about my vision and works for Peace and Justice.
Mostly though, I’m simply enjoying getting to know the people of St. Patrick’s. With each passing day and week, I’m feeling more and more comfortable at calling Council Bluffs my home.
PATRICK SOCIAL CONCERNS COMMITTEE: I’m happy to report that the St. Patrick’s Social Concerns Committee has been reformed and is starting to meet every other month. A designated standing committee of the Parish Council, in recent times the Social Concerns Committee has ceased to function. At the present time there are six members; Jane Henderson, Mary O’Connel, Margret ?, Jacquie Rallis, Sharon Morris and myself.
The Committee is responsible with organizing and maintaining social justice and out reach programs to the poor for the parish. When we first met, we quickly discovered that despite the fact that there has not been a functioning Social Concerns Committee in the parish, there are many on going social concerns programs and projects that are already taking place in the parish. To name a few; the Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Box Project, the parish’s 3rd Sunday Collection for the poor, the St. James Ministry, the parish Pro Life Committee and the direct participation of parish members in Habitat for Humanity and Micah House. The Committee plans to help maintain and support these exsisting efforts.
The Committee is also charged with developing new programs and areas of social concern for the parish along with on going social concerns education. We are to help coordinate and implement the social concerns directives that come for the Diocesan Social Action Office.
We are presently exploring two local concerns; what is being done in the Council Bluffs area to support women with unwanted or difficult pregnancies? And what is being done to eliminate the unusual number of pornographic stores in Council Bluffs? The Committee also plans to host at least two public forums a year to high light and educate particular social concerns issues.
We are still very much in our formative stage as a Committee and would welcome any new members. Our next meeting is scheduled for Monday night May 24th at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome!
Jan. 16, 1994
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fr. Frank, The Teacher:
New years greetings! The new year starts off busy for me, as it has the last four years. For the months of Jan and Feb., I am teaching a Social Ethics class at the Buena Vista Center (BV), out of Ia. Western Community College, two nights a week, Monday and Wednesday.
Teaching this ethics class always stretches me. Part of the class content is the teacher, “Fr. Frank”. I spend the first night telling the students my life story and the next night I present my World View, the philosophical and spiritual bases for why I do resistance work.
The medium age of students enrolled at BV is 35. There are many working class, single parent students, who hold down full time jobs, are raising their children along with trying to get an education. They are just normal ordinary people making extraordinary sacrifices to get a better education. It has been a privilege working with them for the last four years.
Of course, I tell them how and why I became a priest, but mostly I tell the story how I came to work for peace and justice. Each time I do this I’m forced to reexamine who I am and what I’m all about. It is a good discipline for me. I really enjoy getting to know the students. The money I earn from teaching this class will be use to finance my trip to El Salvador in March.
This year, I’m also teaching the St. Alberts First Graders. Every Monday morning I spend 20 minutes in three different 1st grade class rooms. At first, I was very unsure of myself. I’ve never consider myself much of an elementary grade teacher. I’m still no pro. Luckily, I can’t get in too much trouble in 20 minutes and the teachers are close at hand should I need help. Mostly, I’ve been reading specially written Bible Stories to the students. I’m half way through the school year now and I’m more confident with the children. We all seem to be enjoying our time together. I know I’m having a lot of fun with the kids. My time with them is a high point of my week.
Aug. 21, 1994
21st Sunday Ordinary Time
It’s official, a US Marshal showed up, right before 8 a.m. Mass on Monday to server me my “papers”. He was a nice clean-cut young man. He came into the Church basement where the altar and chairs are set up for week day masses.
I was lighting the candles on the altar when he approached, asking, “Are you Fr. Cordaro?” I said. “Yes,” thinking he was someone who needed to speak to a priest. This often happens. Than he pulled out some papers and said he have something to give me. I knew right than he was a US Marshal.
I don’t know what he expected. As soon as he told me he was a US Marshal a big grin went over my face. I took the papers and immediately put them on the altar. He looked surprised. I told him I was expecting them. I welcomed and invited him to join us for mass. He said he had to get up to SD and pick up a few inmates in Yankton at the Fed. Prison Camp and in Sioux Falls at the local county jail. I told him I’d been in both places and wished him well.
The papers read: ” The United States of America vs. Frank J. Cordaro. Case No. 8:CR94-83. You are hereby summoned to appear before the United States District Court at the Zorinsky Fed. Building in US Magistrate West Courtroom Aug. 30, 1994 at 9 a.m., to answer an information (inquiry) charging you with a violation of Title 18 US Code, Section 1382 Trespassing.”
“The US Attorney charges: On or about the 29th day of May, 1994, in the District of NE., the defendant, Frank J. Cordaro, at Offutt AFB, NE., after having been ordered not to reenter by order of Colonel Mary S. MacLaren, the installation commander, for a period of five years, commencing on Dec. 28, 1989. The United States of America request that trial of this case be held in Omaha NE, pursuant to the rules of this Court.”
The documents were signed by US Attorney Thomas J. Monaghan and USAF Captain Richard E. Grove Jr., Special Assistant US Attorney.
I’ve asked Chuck Hannan to be my attorney in this case. He has graciously accepted. I told Chuck that I did not want to “beat” this charge or to be found innocent on a technicality. I want to stand by what I did, speak my truth and face the consequences.
I plan to plead innocent at the Aug. 30th hearing. And I will ask to be tried before a District Judge. I’m pleading innocent to buy us some time so we can line up the needed priest coverage for weekend Masses.
Prison Support Group
It’s time to start forming a Prison Support group. My good friend Kathryn Epperson from Logan has already signed on to be my primary support person. This is a role Kathryn knows and does well. She has fulfilled it the last three times I’ve gone to jail. She will serve as my banker and primary contact person on the outside. Kathryn will have the most up to date information about my situation. If I get in trouble or need help, Kathryn will sound the alarm.
As I’ve done the last three times, I hope to publish a news letter from jail. How this will be done and in what format needs to be determined.
It might take the form of a weekly letters from Fr. Frank to the people of St. Patrick’s. I could write a weekly bulletin insert, journaling my jail experience, using the weekly Sunday lectionary readings as reflection material.
Than once a month we will publish and mail an edited version of my weekly letters with related information and up dates to my mailing list of support people. The last time I did this, we had over 800 people on the mailing list.
All of the above will take some money and people to help pull off.
As I have done in the past, I will not be drawing a salary from the parish while I’m in jail. I do not wish to be a financial burden to St. Patrick’s while I’m in jail. My witness at Offutt last May 29th was solely my own. I was not representing anyone but myself. Besides, my salary money will be needed to pay for the substitute priest we line up for weekend masses.
Therefore, I will be asking people to donate directly to my Prison Support Fund. The last three times we’ve been able to raise enough money to cover my personal expenses, publish and mail my letters from jail. We will also needed people to help copy, collate, label and stamp my monthly mailings.
A Negative or Positive Experience?
I’m well aware that this whole issue of my Witnessing at Offutt, breaking the law, going to trial and going to jail is not very popular. Some people even believe that I am an embarrassment to St. Patrick’s.
Many don’t understand why I risk so much for so little. Our efforts at Offutt have had so little effect on the Arms Race through the years, some ask, “Why keep protesting, especially now that the Cold War is over?” Some say the needs of the parish should out weigh the personal faith convictions that have placed me in this situation in the first place.
Mostly though, the people I’ve talked to in the parish have said they are going to miss me and the unique priestly presence I give to the parish.
These are all fair concerns and question? I have tried and will continue to answer all such concerns. I know my answers will be met with varying degrees of satisfaction. This should come as no surprise. There is no universally accepted way to approach these issues. Our Faith community does not have one heart or one mind when it comes to war and peace issues. What is needed is a greater tolerance and acceptance of differing points of view.
However, we need not see my going to jail as a completely negative experience. Though physically absent while in jail, I hope to maintain a real presence at St. Patrick’s. Through our mutual prayers, my published letters and our personal communication, I can remain an active member of our Faith community. This can be a great learning experience for all of us.
I truly look upon my times in captivity as a continuation of my priestly life and ministry. In some ways I’m a better priest in jail. I know my prayer life is much improved when I’m locked up.
Perhaps the best attitude I can ask from you, regarding my going to jail is that you see me as your missionary to the imprisoned. Whatever ministry I might do while inside, can be matched by what we all learn about the imprisoned and the criminal justice system because of my being there.
One final note. Brian Terrell, a good friend and long time Catholic Worker from Malloy IA is also being asked to court to answer to trespassing charges also. Brian is married and a father of two young children. Please add Brian and his family to your prayer list. We are working to see if we can be tried together.
More on all this latter as events unfold.
Sept. 18, 1994
25th Sun. Ord. Time
Oct. 20 Trial & Sentencing Day
All went as plan at my Aug. 30 court appearance. Chuck Hannan represented me. We plead not guilty. The Fed. Magistrate Judge gave us the option of having the case tried before her or at a Fed. District Judge level. We choose the Fed. District Judge level. The case was assigned to Judge Lyle Strom. I was released on my word & promised to return for trial and not to break any laws before than.
After the court adjourned, Chuck went to negotiate a trial and sentencing date with the Judge & the Prosecution. Not wanting to waste its limited resources, the Fed. District Attorney’s Office has made arrangements with Offutt to have Air Force attorney’s handle all line crossing cases. The main prosecuting attorney for this case is Air Force Major Victor LaPuma, an Officer at Offutt AFB.
This is Major LaPuma’s second time-serving as my prosecuting attorney. He is an Italian American from Philadelphia. We share the same ethnic identify and have joked about it. We are on friendly terms. I also believe we share a measure of respect for each other.
My beef is with the government’s systems and structures – ‘powers and principalities’, not with individual persons; judges, prosecutors or military personal. On my part, I try to maintain a spirit of civility and respect throughout the whole proceedings. And for the most part, this same spirit of civility and respect has been given to me by the Judges and prosecuting attorneys.
Chuck told the Judge and Victor that we did not want to go to trial We plan to plead ‘No Contest’ to the charge. A plea of ‘No Contest’ means a defendant does not dispute the facts of the charge, they simply don’t admit any guilt.
I did indeed brook my Offutt “Ban & Bar” letter last May 29th. I do not dispute this fact. A No Contest plea means I’m simply not admitting any guilt to a crime. The Judge will receive my No Contest plea as if it were a guilty plea.
Chuck told the Judge and Victor that we need a solid Court date in which to change our plea and that we wanted my sentencing to take place immediately after the changing of the plea. Everyone agreed. Judge Storm gave us a Thursday, Oct. 20 at 1:30 p.m.
My Court Room Strategy
Through the years and many court room opportunities, I have come to view my Trials and Court Room settings as another forum in which to speak to the madness of Nuclear Weapons and the evil intent embodied in the mission of StratCom Headquarters.
I hold little hope for true justice being served on Oct. 20th. The Fed. Justice System has already tipped its hand and declared its allegiance to Offutt AFB and StratCom Headquarters when they called me to court to an answer charges of breaking my ‘Ban & Bar” letter. If true justice were being served in this case, the real criminals, the people responsible for the ongoing mission of StratCom would be called to court. They would be asked to answer charges of breaking International Treaties that our nation has signed. These treaties outlaw weapons of mass destruction and the intent to use them. This is unlikely to happen on Oct. 20th
When I’m in Court, its like two different world views are occupying the same space, operating at cross purposes. The Judge and the prosecuting attorneys are concern about a law being broken, a very small and insignificant law – trespassing. Everything else aside, this is the bottom line for them.
I approach the Court Room from an entirely different perspective. I’m not a legalist, I don’t believe in the law or the constitution. I believe in God and in Jesus. When I’m in court I try to speak the language of my Faith, the Faith I have in the ‘non violent’, ‘love your enemys’ Jesus. I see the Court Room seeting as another opportunity to speak from my heart of this faith that leads me to protest the madness of Nuclear Weapons and our nations intent to use them.
Expecting Six Month Sentence
I fully expect to receive a six month sentence. Brian Terrell, my friend, Catholic Worker and Mayor of Maloy Iowa was given a four month sentence Sept. 8th. His sentence is being delayed until Nov. 1 so he can get his affairs in order. If Brian got a four months sentence, this being the first time he has ever been charged with breaking a ‘Ban & Bar’ letter from Offutt, I can reasonably expect to recieve a full six months sentence, this being my fifth time before to Court for breaking an Offutt ‘Ban & Bar’ letter.
Before sentencing and as part of my statement to the Judge, I will tell the Judge that I am not sorry for what I did, that I plan to ‘cross the line’ again and that I will do whatever I can to get others to do the same. I will also tell the Judge that I will not accept any form of probation or community service – feeling I was doing a community service last May 29th when I cross over on to Offutt property.
This will not set well with the Judge. As other Judges before him, Judge Strom will feel it necessary to give me the full penalty under the law.
Just because I expect to receive a six month sentence, doesn’t mean I accept the sentence. Given the Governments argument, that a crime has been committed, a law was broken, isn’t a six month jail sentence far more sever than is called for? Does it make sense to put me away for six months, spending thousands of U.S. Tax payers dollars, for such a low level non violent crime? How can this be just when so many other more serious criminal offenders are give lesser or no prison sentences at all? A sentence of six months for a non violent tresspassing charge at Offutt is disproportionate to the aledged crime – it is a political sentence.
Things are looking good in this area. For the six months, we have priests sceduled to help Msgr. Ed for all but four weekends.
You are invited to Fr. Frank’s Last Supper & Trial
In keeping with the tradition started in Logan, we will be having a send off Mass and Reception (Fr. Frank’s Last Supper) Wednesday night Oct. 19 at 8:15 p.m. at St. Patrick’s. The trial and sentencing will be the next day, Thursday Oct. 20th at 1:30 p.m. in Judge Lyle Storm’s Court Rm. at the Omaha U.S. Fed. Courthouse, 215 No. 17th St. All are welcome to attend either or both.
Attending either or both of the above events would be greatly appreciated. You don’t have to agree with me or with what I did at Offutt to attend. Your presence will be taken as a personal sign of support and concern for me, not an endorsement of my way of thinking or my actions at Offutt.
1st Meeting of “Fr. Frank’s Prison Support Group”
First meeting of “Fr. Frank’s Prison Support Group” will be this coming Monday night Sept. 19th immediately after our 7:00 p.m. St. Patrick’s Social Concerns meeting in the Rectory. Anyone is welcomed.
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Oct. 4 – Talking at St. Mary’s in Hamburg IA.
I’ve been asked to talk to the Junior and Senior High Religious Education students at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hamburg Ia. Wednesday night Oct. 4th. I plan to spend the night in Western Ia and return to Lacona the following day. There will be no 8 a.m. Mass in Lacona on Thursday Oct. 5th.
Oct. 6 – First Friday Mass
This coming Friday is the first Friday of the month. We will be celebrating Mass at 8 a.m. in Milo. There will be coffee and rolls served after Mass. All are welcome!
Oct. 6 – The Catholic Worker
Our Parish is preparing and serving the 6 p.m. meal at the Des Moines Catholic Worker Friday Oct. 6th. After the meal, I will be celebrating Mass at the Catholic Worker at 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in helping with the meal or attending the Mass get a hold of me or Pam Wadle at 466-3571
Oct. 10 – Fr. Frank & His Mother to see Mother Teresa of Calcutta MAYBE?
There is a good chance I may be flying to Boston with my mother Oct. 8th to see Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa may be visiting my cousin Lewis Randa’s school for the severely handicap. My cousin Lewis’s Life Experience School is a very special place. Mother Teresa has visited them before. Lewis invited my Mother and me to join them in welcoming Mother Teresa. The details are being worked out. If we go, there will be no 8:00 Masses on Oct. 9 and 10. I will let you know by next weekend if the trip is happening. More on my cousin Lewis and his school latter.
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Annual Priests’ Fall Workshop
This coming week, starting Sunday Oct. 15th to Thursday Oct. 19th, the priest of the Des Moines Diocese will gather at the Mount Conference Center in Atchison Ks. for our Annual Priest Fall Workshop. This years topic is “Ministering with a Family Perspective”. I am planning on attending the whole conference. I will also be spending Thursday night in the Council Bluffs / Omaha area and return to Lacona sometime Friday. There will be no weekday Masses next week. In case of an emergency. I can be reached at (800) 467-1164 in Atchison until Thursday afternoon.
Please keep the priest in your prayers this week. It is a great sacrifice for the people of the Des Moines Diocese to have their priest away from their parishes and ministries every year for this Fall Workshop. Yet, the fellowship and education provided at these workshop never fail in making us a better community of priest and ministers to the Church.
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Mother Teresa of Calcutta Trip Fell Through
My mother and my trip to Boston to see Mother Teresa of Calcutta last week fell through. Mother Teresa’s health is so poor that all her appointments in the Boston area were concealed. Please keep Mother Teresa in your prayers.
Understandably, my mother and me are disappointed we were not able to met Mother Teresa. I mostly fell bad for my cousin Lewis Randa and the students of his Life Experience School. They were looking forward to personally presenting Mother Teresa with one of their Courage For Peace Awards. The Life Experience School and the Peace Abbey connected with it, is truly a remarkable place. I hope to share more with you about them in the future.
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Pentagon Charges Dropped
I relieved word from Wash. D.C. that the charges from my Aug. 4th arrest at the Pentagon were dropped. This means that I am in the clear, with no outstanding warrants or court dates to answer to.
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Fr. Frank To Speak in Ia. Falls Thurs. Oct. 26th
I’ve been asked to give the keynote address for the Ia. Falls Catholic Reginal Catechist In-Service Program Thurs. night Oct. 26th. on the theme “Teaching Social Justice”. I plan to return in time for the 8 a.m. Mass on Friday Oct. 27th
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Fr. Frank Talking at UNO Thursday Nov. 9th
I’ve been asked to talk to a class of social worker students at the University of Ne. in Omaha. The course is entitled “Institutional Racism and Sexism”. I’ve been ask to talk about the Catholic Church and how it has dealt with institutional racism and sexism. There will be no 8:00 a.m. Mass on Thursday Nov. 9.
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Fr. Frank Speaking in Council Bluffs & Sioux City
I have been asked to talk at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City this Sunday, Dec. 10th. Briar Cliff is a Catholic College run by the Franciscan Sisters of Dubuque. The title of my talk is “Following the Nonviolent Jesus. A Call To A Resistance Church”. I will be back on the western side of the state and Council Bluffs, Wed. Dec. 13th to share in a program with Sam Day. The title of our discussion is, “Why We Crossed The Line At Offutt And Will Do It Again”. I’ve shared with you before who Sam Day is. I have not seen Sam since he got out of Fed. Prison Camp. It will be good to be with him again.
There will be no 8:00 a.m. Mass in Lacona on Thursday Dec. 14th.
Don’t forget the
Holy Trinity of S.E. Warren Co.
Sat. Dec. 16
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fr. Benno Kornely, S.J.
Des Moines Emmaus Spiritual Director
St. Augustine Church in Milo
Communal Penance Service starting at 4:30 p.m.
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Regina Hoch Want’s Fr. Frank’s Pony Tail Off!
When I went to give 89 year old Regina Hoch Holy Communion last week at Shirley’s Place in Indianola, she surprised me with a beautiful guilt she made. She said, “Here Father, put this towards getting your pony tail cut off.” I passed the quilt onto the Rosemount 125th Anniversary committee. They’ve decided to auction off Regina’s quilt on the day of the Rosemount Picnic, just before we announce how much money we’ve raise. A last chance effort to raise enough money to cut Fr. Frank’s pony tail off.
Fr. Frank Writes Column For Indianola Paper
Be looking for Wed. June 26th issue of the Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune news paper. I am the guest writer of the “County Line” column.
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S.W. Warren County Bound:
Its official! I got the letter from the Bishop last week. My new assignment will be the pastor of Holy Trinity Parish of S.E. Warren County. I will be responsible for the Catholic communities of Lacona, Milo and Rosemount. Each community has its own worship center. I will be living in the Rectory in Lacona, about 45 miles S.E. of Des Moines. I will be replacing Fr. Kevin Cameron, who will be moving back into Des Moines to be a part-time associate pastor at Visitation Parish along with developing the Hispanic Catholic community in the diocese.
I’ve very happy with the assignment. I figure I will get the best of both country and city ministry. As pastor of three small rural communities I will get to do the one on one, small based community sacramental and parish ministry that I enjoyed so much when I was in Harrison Co. Plus, with the easy access to Des Moines, I will get to be involved in the urban peace and justice work that I longed to return to. This assignment will also put me much closer to my family and the Des Moines Catholic Worker community.
Of course, the downer in all this is having to leave St. Patrick’s and all the good people and friends I have enjoyed the last three years. The time I have to say my good-bys here in Council Bluffs have been shortened by three weeks. My first day on the job in Warren Co. will be June 22nd. I am making this early move because Fr. Cameron is needed in Des Moines at Visitation Parish to fill in for Fr. Tom Pfeffer, who will be in Mexico City studying Spanish. This does not give us much time to say our good-bys, especially since I’m still enjoying my return back into the community after my six month absence.
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Packing Up Memories and People – “Breaking up Is Hard To Do”
It is with a certain sense of sadness that I write this weeks bulletin reflection. It will be my last bulletin reflection as your associate pastor. My first day on the job at Holy Trinity of S.E. Warren Co. Parish starts June 22.
Between than and now I will be moving my belongings to Lacona IA. I will be doing a lot of dismantling and packing up of my accumulated ‘stuff’. After ten years in the priesthood, I find I have accumulated a lot of stuff; mostly books, posters and memorability. I probably should get rid of some of these possessions. Of course, some day I will, one way or the other. But for now I’m bringing most of it along with me to my next home.
I know lugging all this stuff is my way of trying to hold on to and remember where I’ve been and all the people who have crossed my path over the years. Most everything I own connects me to a time and place where some body came into my life.
I guess I’m sad because its a whole lot easier for me to lug my stuff to Lacona than it is for me to pack up all the people who have made a difference in my life and bring them to Lacona too. Like the popular title of the song, “Breaking Up Is Hard To do”, I know I’m feeling particularly sad right now about leaving all the good people of St. Patrick’s Parish who have been so kind and generous to me over the last three years. Rest assured, I have accumulated my share of ‘stuff’ over the last three years to remind me often of the good times and the good people St. Patrick’s Parish. With or without my ‘stuff’, I will always hold dear my time at St. Patrick’s and all the people who have been part of my life here.
I want to thank all the folks who have helped me along the way, too many to name and probably more than I will ever know. A special thanks to Msgr. Ed, a better pastor and boss would be hard to fine. I will be eternally indebted to him for his support and believe in me and my Resistance Ways. God bless you all.