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Faith Lights Our Way in Darkness

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

The family of Robert Godwin Sr. delivered a powerful message over the last two weeks: Faith is our saving grace in our darkest moments.

In the midst of tragedy and heartbreak, family members were able to clear their heads of emotional poison and forgive the shooter who randomly killed their 74-year-old patriarch and posted his crime on social media for the world to see. The seemingly senseless murder gripped the nation and launched a nationwide manhunt that ended two days later, when the gunman took his own life, after being cornered by police.

I can’t begin to imagine what it took for Mr. Godwin’s daughter to get to the place where she could declare “The thing that I would take away the most from my father is he taught us about God … how to fear God, how to love God, and how to forgive. Each one of us forgives the killer.”

What I do know is that her statement helped me to manage my emotions – and I didn’t even know Mr. Godwin.

After seeing an image of Mr. Godwin’s face (right before he was shot) on a news report, I felt sorrow, disgust, anger, confusion, frustration and heartbreak all at the same time. I was in shock and disbelief that this father and grandfather was walking down a street in Cleveland, Ohio on Easter Sunday when a seemingly unhinged gunman randomly chose him and intentionally shot him.

Easter Sunday –a day when we are reminded that we can find strength and ultimate hope in Christ, who has conquered death and can sympathize with human suffering; a day when we are reminded to entrust ourselves more fully to our faithful God, no matter what befalls us.

Perhaps it is fitting that family, friends and community members gathered on Easter Saturday to celebrate the life of Mr. Godwin. On that day, our gospel reading reminded us once again of our mission to proclaim the Good News of the Lord to all.

Members of the Godwin family – like the disciples in the scripture reading – have been bold in their testimony that the Lord is with them and that the Holy Spirit is giving them the courage, strength and wisdom to proclaim that there is a hope beyond all other hope when we are in despair and engulfed in darkness.

Like the Godwins, those of us who call ourselves Christians (disciples of Christ) should share the light that we have received with those who are living in darkness. The Godwins even shared God’s truth with the shooter by forgiving him.

My hope is that we can follow the example of the Godwins by living our lives with zeal and devotion to God through prayer, through faith, through charity, and through love. When we bring the light of Christ to others (by showing care and concern and through our just actions), we help them connect with the Risen Lord.

My prayer is that we share God’s love with those who have no one to comfort them, with those who are in need, and with those we consider our enemies and that we always remember that even Jesus forgave his condemners from the cross.

“I promise you, I could not do that if I did not know God, if I didn’t know him as my God and my Savior, I could not forgive (the shooter)”…the daughter of Robert Godwin, Sr.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Do not be afraid – Go, tell!

“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary…ran to announce the news…. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and…said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell…'” – Matthew 28

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

Today I am thinking about these women running to announce the news of Jesus’ Resurrection – and about all those who down through the centuries have continued to tell the story for 2000 years – and especially those in our own lives who have passed on their faith to us!

In reflecting on the wealth of joy, peace, guidance and wisdom that has filled my life because of those who shared their faith with me, those who helped nurture my love for Christ and my faith in his Resurrection, I am deeply grateful for all those announcers of Good News to me.

When I was about a five year old (before our family became Catholic) my sister, Ruth, and I would go with the neighborhood kids to a Baptist Sunday School held in borrowed rooms of the Will Rogers Public School building down the hill from our house. We prided ourselves in our perfect attendance record – and were rewarded by special prizes which we cherished beyond their worth! Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Moving from “Invitation” to a “Radical Welcome”

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

What is Radical Welcome?

I’ve been pondering a question this weekend: How do we move from invitation to radical welcome?

The question emerged on Saturday during the Midwest Mission Group Meeting in St. Catharine, KY, where we engaged in a discussion about Living Interculturally; and it’s been begging me for an answer since then.

I found that before I could answer that question, I needed to answer the obvious question: What is radical welcome?

I decided that radical welcome means asking people to be fully present and to share their total being – their culture, their experiences, their voices.

It means moving beyond inclusivity to a place where we genuinely want to engage in truly meaningful mutual relationships. It means valuing the culture, experiences, voice, and entire being of each individual in our community. It means ensuring that each individual’s presence, gifts, and perspectives will be valued and visible and will influence the community’s identity, structure, mission and ministries. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog

I am praising God today!

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

God is worthy of praise

I am praising God because the Lord is worthy of joyful thanksgiving and adoration, and the Lord’s goodness and grace is worthy of celebration.

Over the last couple of weeks, the difficulties of life – a close family member in critical condition; another close family member undergoing life-changing surgery; a close friend dealing with the news of a terminal diagnosis – clouded my vision.

Fear began to creep in as I contemplated the worst in each of those situations. My heart sank as I began to remember all of the losses I have experienced – particularly those of my mother, my father, my sister, and three brothers – and the grief that each of those losses brought to my life. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Will Your Legacy Be a Great Resume or an Inspiring Eulogy?

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

Striving to Inspire

I heard a beautiful eulogy last week:

He “worked to bring the hope of Christ to people’s lives. He also built bridges of solidarity to people of other faiths as a leader in ecumenism and inter-religious affairs…. The most fitting tribute we can offer is to carry forward his episcopal motto in our daily lives: ‘Do the work of an evangelist.'”

Those words – uttered by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo (of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) about his dear friend Cardinal William H. Keeler (retired Archbishop of Baltimore), who died last Thursday – struck a chord in my heart.

I thought – “Wow! I hope someone somewhere can say something like that about me” because I am striving to lead a life in which I am inspired and I can inspire others. I was reminded that each day we are writing our eulogy – the foundational document of our legacy – with our lives. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog