Being the Village it Takes

We have all heard the phrase, “It takes a village…”.  It is usually in reference to community support for young people who do not have the structure or oversight that is needed.  The axiom has persisted because we know that the breakdown of family has been, and continues to be,...

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Disconnected

For the young men I visit in Illinois adult prisons, the struggle most often spoken about during my 90 trips in 2015 and 2016 was their disconnection, separation, and detachment from family.  I call it the loneliness of the long distance inmates of Chicagoland. That loneliness leads to stress, anxiety,...

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An Awakening

  Much of the world is celebrating the joys of Easter.  The earth is awakening with newness of spring: flowers, smell of cut grass, the appearance of the sun after a long and dark winter.  Easter is in the air.  For those who have traveled amidst the pain and the...

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Sacred Encounter

I was invited to a cluster meeting of priests, religious and archdiocesan personnel in our area.  It was a gathering of the parish staffs of the Catholic churches on the south and southwest side of Chicago.  Unlike many other priest clusters, this was a younger crowd – many serving Hispanic...

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Homecoming

When Joey Rodriguez walked into our meeting alongside his sister Cathy, I could not help but smile as tears sprang to my eyes.  For the last 35 years Joey has been incarcerated, and for 10 of those years I have been meeting with his sister Cathy monthly at our CRIIC...

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MARCHING AND REMEMBERING; EMOTIONAL MEMORIAL

It was December 31st and nearly 1000 persons marched down Michigan Avenue in the cold to remember the 762 lives lost in Chicago in 2016.   Mothers/Fathers/brothers/sisters, grandmothers … crying as they searched for their loved ones cross – “my brother, that’s my baby, that’s my Mother…..”. The 800 crosses were...

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Life on the Pod

He stood there to hear the judge say that his trial will be held in February. He knew that meant another 64 days of incarceration after he had already been in the juvenile detention center for 6 months. The state is accusing Nigel of habitual crimes which, if found guilty,...

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The First and Greatest Commandment

We were driving home after giving a talk at Dominican University and Anthony was more quiet than normal.  Usually, that means he is deep into his phone – on Facebook or some other social media app.  But no phone….head toward the passenger window of the car. “Hey, Anthony, anything the...

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Paradigm Shift

Richard Rohr, in his new book on the Trinity (The Divine Dance) says that a paradigm shift becomes necessary when the old structure, the previous paradigm, has become so full of holes and “patchwork fixes” that it no longer holds together.  It is then that a new way becomes possible....

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Death and Life Go On and On

It was hard getting up and facing the day. It was a holiday, and yet I felt no sense of celebration. Instead I sat for a while at our sorrowful mother shrine – our newly finished outdoor shrine in the Precious Blood Center peace garden. A small pieta rests atop...

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