Monday, May 30, 2022

Op-ed: Praying to change


I was kneeling after communion on Ascension Thursday (yes, still Thursday in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia) when my watch tapped me to let me know I had a text. I ignored it. I was praying and while I believe God from time to time answers my prayers, I was (fairly) certain God wasn’t texting me.

When Mass ended I checked my watch to see I had a photo of Ted Cruz sent from my youngest kid. Huh? Then I realized that it must be my op-ed, written for the Philadelphia paper. On what we might be praying for when we say “thoughts and prayers” in these horrific moments.

So what was I praying for as I knelt there, moments after holding the Body of Christ in my hands? For the parents and children whose lives and bodies had been torn apart shot from a gun that no one outside the military should have. That their parents might have the strength to watch their children’s bodies taken away from them for the last time. For the teachers who stood in front of their students, for the teachers who wonder if they will ever be in that position. For the courage to keep saying what we would prefer to cloak in euphemisms. For the persistence to keep calling my representatives, both state and federal and tell them what my thoughts and prayers are.

Various people have written to say that the piece has encouraged them to persist in the face of what seems like an intractable problem. Others have written to tell me who to blame. It’s the fault of the parents who failed to take their marriage vows seriously (seriously? Seriously!). Or of universities. Or mental illness. Or, or, or…

Please I pray, let us persist. Call your representatives — that matters. Write them and if you want a copy of my op-ed to send, you can find it here:

Or I send me an email and I’ll send you a PDF.