Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

Time and doing what’s right

February 25, 2008

One last check of email before I headed to the kitchen this morning to prepare a beef, leek, beer stew. Not really a long preparation nor a long simmer time, but I did have a meeting to attend, leaving here around 4:15. Good news was to be found in my in-box. The meeting has been canceled. One of the key participants is unable to return from New Orleans in time. We shall reschedule.

New Orleans. A different feel the last few years to seeing or hearing the name of that city. We had so much fun during our last visit there. Most of my visits had been alone for business, but our vacation time there along with another couple was like magic. But now I feel a sadness at the sight or sound of that name.

A friend of mine celebrating his First Mass there following ordination in 2002 was my last excuse for being in the city. He now works at Xavier University and has been affected greatly by what has happened to his hometown.

When we were in theology school together, he and I put together a day of dialogue on issues of race. We called it “Tilling the Silence.” An apt name for the minimal racial and ethnic inclusion within the Catholic Church and its institutions. Our meeting today was for our monthly meeting of the Diversity Coalition of Saint Louis. He would be pleased that something is still going on.

Pulled together in 1996 to launch an affirmative action plan for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the coalition has hit one stone wall after another. Our focus is primarily in the high schools and parishes. Progress is exceeding slow. The Human Rights Office withdrew from the coalition a number of years ago due to a lack of vision and passion for doing anything requiring dialogue, planning, and action. A frustrating move since the Human Rights Office was the prime mover in forming the Coalition.

Someday, we’ll meet with the current Archbishop to see where he is on the general topic. From what I’ve seen of him, I’d be surprised if he would not endorse a well-reasoned plan to improve racial and ethnic inclusion. The previous Archbishop supported our planning wholeheartedly. But those he charged with responsibility for helping move things forward turned toward power and politics to defuse any meaningful efforts. Every single one of them is now elsewhere.

Black History Month is a good time to reflect upon such things. Time and doing what’s right are on our side if we don’t lose sight of where we need to be going.