October 20, 2014
The reach of Ferguson…
In the more immediate aftermath of the unfolding tragedy in Ferguson, I asked you for prayers for peace. I continue to do so, but since that time, I have discovered that those events reach all the way to Good Shepherd every day. We have staff, both black and white, who live in Ferguson. Indeed, we have employees who live within walking distance of the burned out Quick Trip and the Ferguson Police Headquarters. We have clients in Ferguson who were/are in fear for their lives, and we have both staff and clients with family members in Ferguson who have been affected directly by the tragedies there. We also have staffers whose family members are police officers—who are once again gearing up for the potential of more unrest. The impact is palpable enough here that we have invited Fr. Jack Schuler from Catholic Charities to come speak to us at our next All Staff gathering this Friday. Appropriately, we will be meeting in North County at the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine, and we’ve asked Fr. Jack (who was Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Ferguson for 16 years) to speak to us about our ministry in the wake of the events of Ferguson and to provide us with insight into how we as a Catholic mission agency are called to respond—both internally and externally.
One of my greatest fears is that once the legal aspects of the shooting death of Michael Brown are resolved (hopefully without renewed violence), St. Louis will begin the work of burying the tensions and disparities once again—-pretending that the unrest we’ve witnessed doesn’t reflect decades of division that cry out for healing. We are called to more than that, and we must work together toward a deeper resolution that may not be fully accomplished in our life time. If we’re to be a voice for the voiceless—if we’re to be the face of Christ for those we serve, then we must begin laying the foundation for a changed community now. Not to sound trite, but each us can make a difference. My prayer is that each of will do something (hopefully many somethings) in the weeks and months to come to bring lasting peace and justice to the St. Louis community.
Yours in Christ,