Note: This biography was retrieved from his computer and was attached to his application to work with CPE, which I believe is the School of Clinical Pastoral Education. The CPE offers Christian ministry at local hospitals. It was written in 1997, before his youngest grandson, Paul, was born.
On the testimony of my parents and a very brief newspaper notice, I was born on December 1, 1930. The day was Monday. I weighed in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces and I was born at home. The newspaper article noted that that day was rather unusual. It snowed, hailed, rained, had a windstorm, was cloudy and had an afternoon of brilliant sunshine. I was the final baby, being the last of seven children. But this needs a bit of explanation. Both of my parents were previously married and each had children prior to their marriage to one another. My father had had three children, Mary, Peter and Ledo. My mother had one child, Albert. Together they had Virgil, Frank and me. By the time I was born, my sister Mary already had three children so when I was born, I was already an uncle. I realized none of this until I was in my early teens.
I was born in Anaconda, Montana, a valley situated high in the Rocky Mountains. The elevation of Anaconda was 5,280 feet. My father, would often say two things about the weather: "If summer falls on a Sunday this year, I will wear my new suit" and "Anaconda has 13 months of winter, the rest is summer." Anaconda was a "smelting" town, really the plantation of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company (ACM). Anaconda, prior to World War II, was a city of immigrants. It seems that everyone's parents were born in the old country, either Italy (my case), Slovakia (Croatia), or Ireland with a smattering from other western European countries.
Life was indeed difficult. The ACM was basically the single employer and all employment was dependent upon the "company". The work was hard and in certain departments, extremely dangerous. My first real memories of this aspect dates to 1936. I remember strikers standing around barrels heating themselves in the winter cold. That strike, I later learned, lasted about 18 months and was the first time the workers won collective bargaining rights as a union. In the 1910's and 1920's, my father had organized with Joe Hill of the International Workers of the World (IWW). My upbringing was very pro-union and very anti-company and very anti-church.
In those turbulent days of the depression, the perception of the workers was that the Priests were all on the side of the company. Indeed, there were referred to as "copper collars," i.e., the Roman collar that signified their priesthood was made of copper smelted by the ACM.
Everything in Anaconda (and in Butte, Montana) was controlled by the "Company". And somehow, even as a child I knew this. A little real life digression. At some point during the 1930's, a Pentecostal Church opened up in Anaconda and they had erected the very first neon sign in Anaconda. Now, this was a big event. In evening, people use to walk by that Church just to see the neon sign. That neon sign was a cross outlined in blue with the following two words blazed in red: "JESUS SAVES".
I knew then and there that the Church was owned by the "Company". For me, "saving" meant saving money at the bank. Now, I find out that Jesus is saving at the bank. This experience prepared me to become a Communist. More on this a little later.
My first language was Italian. In my little neighborhood of "Goosetown", Italian was the street language. "Goosetown" was a classic example of "chain migration." People who lived across the street from one another in the Old Country, migrate to America settle in Anaconda and still live across the street from one another. All the loves and all the hates that existed in Italy also became transported to Anaconda, Montana. I attended public grade and high school. In grade school, especially the first three grades, I was very uncomfortable and self conscious. For the first time, I was meeting people who did not live in my little neighborhood. Most of them were not Italian. They spoke good English. My father had no education (yet spoke three languages fluently). My mother had only a third grade education. Reading was something that did not happen in our house. My memory tells me that my first grade teacher did not like me. Not only was I Italian but I was also Catholic. I think I hated her. First grade was not a good memory for me. I could hardly wait until I was old enough to quit school. My memory also tells me that my second grade teacher was lovely. She instilled in me a desire and love to read which remains with me today. My third grade seemed to be a repeat of my first grade. I decided that I would never let school interfere with me. I would learn but I would not let school touch me.
I loved the mountains. Especially, in summer, I would spend hours of each day up Matty's Gulch. Here, by myself, I could daydream, pretend, watch the ants work and the birds nestling. By the hours, I would watch the fawns play, the rabbits scurrying back and forth, and dream of being in my own Garden of Eden. This nature experience was a buffer zone over life in Anaconda. My parents always quarrelled (and Italians always shout when they quarrel). I don't think I enjoyed living at home very much.
My father, after organizing with Joe Hill and traveling the many little mining towns of the West became, during prohibition, an immense bootlegger owning several large gambling facilities in Anaconda, Gregson Hot springs and Butte Montana. In 1927, to cover up his still operations, my father bought a 50,000 acre ranch and stocked it with 5,000 head of cattle, all paid for in cash. With the stock market crash of 1929, the sharp reduction in prices and a very severe winter, my father not only lost this ranch and his cattle and went broke, he was also arrested for bootlegging and when I was born, he was in jail. He ended up owning just a little grocery store next door to our house. It was this house and this grocery store that formed my childhood memories.
World War II breaks out and soon my older brothers are all off to war and my brother Frank and I had to take up the slack in the store. My brother Frank, very quickly became an alcoholic at a very early age. (In my early childhood, whenever we stepped out of our house, we had to step carefully to avoid the drunks - most of them close relatives. Anaconda was very hard drinking town and really, a town of violence.) Frank continually stole money from my Father who finally caught him. Frank no longer worked in the store but quit school in the 7th grade, went to work on the smelter and managed to somehow repay my father. I became the son who helped my Father in the store. Everyday after school and every saturday, I worked in the store. Every Sunday morning, I spent re-stocking shelves and cleaning the store. Happily, I didn't have to go to church anymore. First, I was paid a nickel a day. When I entered high school, I was paid $5.00 a week and I had use of the delivery truck.
In Junior High School, I was now earning $5.00 a week! This was big money, then for a young teenager. Beer was 10 cents a bottle or $2.00 for a case of 24 bottles. Hell, I became the most popular person in the school. I kept a fifth of bourbon in my locker at school. After all, Anaconda was very cold in winter. I did not engage in any extracurricular activities. First, my work in the store didn't allow me. Second, I was not going to let school touch me. I was always a below average student in grades. Whenever I studied, school work became dull. (In my senior year, my teacher in Chemistry told me I was stupid and the whole class laughed. I said nothing but I studied Chemistry. That quarter I got an "A" in Chemistry. The second and third quarters, I got an"F" and the fourth quarter, I got another "A" because I wanted to graduate.)
Graduating from high school, I entered Montana State University and managed to flunk every course I took except Gym and ROTC. My older brother, Virgil, a WW II veteran was also there and he packed me up and shipped me home. Thank you, Jesus!!! This was the best thing that happened to me. I then worked on the smelter, became very active in the Union, became the editor of the Union paper and my brother Peter and I led the strike action against the company in 1953. In a dynamite explosion - while at work - my forearm was pierced completely through by a chunk of concrete with steel wire in it. This was on a night shift, about 3:00 am. I pulled the wire out and was sent down to see the nurse. The nurse was a male derisively name "Iodine McPherson." His solution to all injuries was dosing the injury with iodine. He dosed my arm with iodine and told me to go back to work. I refused, was docked pay, and went home. I decided then and there that there had to be a better way to make a living.
I returned to Montana State University and from this point forward I was almost a straight "A" student. I then transferred to Carroll College Helena, Montana to start studying for the priesthood (see below: FAITH DEVELOPMENT). I entered first theology and decided that the priesthood wasn't for me. I wanted very much to be a Priest but I also wanted very much to be married and to have children. My older brother Virgil went to Washington, D.C., met a lovely woman, married her and asked me to be the best man. I went to Washington, D.C. and never returned to Anaconda, Montana. Interestingly, the rest of my history is really part and parcel of the development of my religious and faith development.
I early became convinced that the Church was in "cahoots" with the company. During the World War II everything was scarce. As I child, I always wanted a "real" bike. I also had a scavenger bike. (We would go to the "dumps" and scavenge parts to build a bike. One Saturday morning, my father told me he was buying me a bike. He did and paid $45.00 for it in hard cash. My father insisted that the bike have a basket on it. No real 12 year old rides a bike with a basket on it. I did. I learned the reason for the basket. Attached to my father's store was a meat market that became a horse meat market during World War II. Every evening at 9:00 pm, I loaded that basket with horse meat, rode up the alleys and delivered the horse meat to restaurants who, the next day, would advertise "BEEF STEW WITH PLENTY OF BEEF." This continued throughout the war.
Now the butcher of the horse meat market was a dear, dear adult friend who was a communist. It was Charlie who taught me how to think, how to be analytical, to question everything and anything I heard. Charlie would tear a large sheet of meat wrapping paper, give it to me, and say: "I want you to fill this sheet of paper with your thoughts." This was so liberating to me. I learned from Charlie never to let school interfere with my education, a phrase I still use today. I read Marx and Engels and I carried the Communist Manifesto and the Communist Constitution in my pocket. From my 7th grade in high school until my junior year in college, I considered myself a Communist. For me, life became "issues." From Charlie, I learned that segregation and race prejudice were wrong. In the 1940's, I refused to engage in the stereotypes that were prevalent at that time, especially in high school and college. (This was another thing that did not help to make me popular.) In the very early 1950's (I can't remember dates exactly), I was advocating on behalf of the migrant farm workers who harvested the sugar beets in southern Montana.
I now have returned to Montana State University. I am smart, a very excellent student, very well read, and believe it or not, I knew everything! In my junior year, totally by accident (except God works by accidents), I bumped into Joe Ward. Joe was a graduate student in English, an ex-seminarian who left shortly before ordination, and who was interested in all of the issues I was interested in. Except!, Joe was interested in these issues as a Christian who was a Catholic. Now, this challenged my whole intellectual world. No way, no how, could a Catholic be interested in the issues that I was interest in: workers rights, living wages, decent housing, civil rights, equality for women (Gay rights was not on the horizon then), migrant workers' rights, international justice, evils of capitalism, colonialism and the good Lord knows what else.
Joe was interested in these issues because Joe had encountered Christ whom I had already written off. Joe helped me to make a distinction between Christ and the very human institution - the Catholic Church as an institution. Because I was and remain an incurable reader, Joe recommended some books to me. The very first was Gilbert Keith Chesterton's ORTHODOXY. I opened this book and read the following: 'There are two ways of getting home. One of them is to stay there. The other is to wander...." I read everything I could find by Chesterton (being at a University I found a lot). I then read Hilary Belloc and the complete works of John Henry Cardinal Newman. In between, I read Leon Bloy, many of the English Dominicans whose names escape me, Jesu et son Temps, in the French (I'll think of the author), and Jacques Maritain. I started reading the New Testament. What a revelation I had! I now knew, deep in my heart, that my entire life would have to be Christ centered.
I left Montana State University, enrolled at Carroll College, Helena, Montana (the diocesan college) and prepared to study for the priesthood. (Joe Ward was hired as a professor of English at Carroll College and for me, this was fantastic.) My professors, without exception, were phenomenal. Exceedingly competent in their fields, they always engage their students in critical thinking. Nothing was ever accepted at face value. While at Carroll College Joe introduced me to the Young Christian Workers movement and I met a Romeo Meone, a big strapping man who looked terribly uneducated but was very well educated. From Rom, I learned that Jesus cannot remain in one's head. Jesus must be put into deeds. In one year, and one summer semester, I took all the Latin I needed and all the philosophy I needed and entered the seminary as a "First Theology Student".
I loved theology and was a excellent student. But, I now knew I was moving towards a very serious decision. I very much wanted to be a Priest. But I also wanted to marry and have children. I made a decision. For me, being married and having children was a greater good than being a priest. I believed that then and I still believe that today.
At this point, I knew that the rest on my life would have to be Christ-centered. My older brother Virgil was getting married and asked me to be his best man in Washington, D.C. I went there and never returned. At that time Senator James E. Murray was the ranking Senator. I was to join his staff. (I was his campaign manager back home in a very brutal election were Senator Murray was portrayed as being a communist supporter. This was the McCarthy era and I even managed to be placed on the Attorney General's list of subversives for my union activities.)
However, I elected not to work with Senator Murray. Instead, I joined the St. Peter Claver Center, a Catholic Interracial Friendship House (first made known to me by Joe Ward). There, I received $6:00 a month, lived in the old South West among the most wretched poverty in Washington, D.C. We served the poor and the oppressed and tried to educate the oppressors. We had a clothing room, gave out sandwiches to the homeless, tried to get medical and dental care to neighbors in need. We also had a little farm in Burnley, Virginia that we used for kids camps, retreats and weekend study sessions. I spent the summer at the farm.
For our study weekends, we had people like Dorothy Day, Catherine deHeuck Doherty, Msgr. Paul Hanly Furfey as our guests lecturers. I was exposed to the best Catholic thinking of that time. The people who entered and influenced my life were legion, many of them I believe to be saints.
There, I met and married my lovely wife, a former staff member. My wife, Bethann, had and has more influence on me than any person I had ever known. We have seven children and now have 10 grandchildren. I now know what love is because I know I am truly loved by my wife. (This sometimes can make me a little cocky. All my married life, I could and have quit jobs without regard to the future. I could do this because I knew my wife loved me. What else is there?) Needing a job that would support a marriage, I was hired at Fides Neighborhood House founded by none other than Msgr. Paul Hanly Furfey and Dr. Mary Elizabeth Walsh. Msgr. Furfey was a very early beacon in the Catholic Church on the issues of Social Justice especially race relations. Msgr. Furfey was head of the Department of Sociology at Catholic University and was a universally respected Sociologist. Even in his old age, Msgr. Furfey led the protest march against the Vietnam War from Catholic University to the mall.
I also entered Catholic University as a graduate student in Urban Sociology with a minor in Catholic Social Principles. Again, my professors were excellent. I loved graduate school. I felt my life was fulfilled. I was working in Washington, D.C.'s "wickest precinct" at Fides Neighborhood House and I was in graduate school learning how to heal the ills of society. Again, the people I met at Fides House, the staff and the volunteers were sent by God. To this day, I have never met the quality of people that I had met at Friendship House and at Fides House. More and more, my wife and I knew that our lives had to be lived in Christ.
We were expecting our second child and moved from a little apartment to our first house at 3816 22nd Street, N.E. We were first refused an FHA mortgage. When I challenged the refusal, I was told that we were a young white couple moving into an area that was turning all Black. Because of our Friendship House experience and our faith commitment, my wife and I purposely chose to remain in D.C. I appealed that decision telling the "gentleman" that if I was refused again, I would organize a protest march and get all the publicity that I could. We got the mortgage loan.
Spike Zweicke, a staff member at the Blessed Martin dePorres Catholic Worker House kept telling me that I should apply for a D.C. Government job with the Commissioners' Youth Council. I finally did - to keep Spike off my back - and ended up accepting the offer. I was now a community organizer with all of southeast Washington on both sides of the river as my territory. I first organized all the Churches - Protestant, Catholic and one synagogue into three distinct Youth Council areas. Then I brought in the teachers, recreation personnel, local businesses, and parents. I spent most of my time in the field. I was always in dialogue with clergy, especially a Rabbi and an episcopalian Priest. I read everything I could find by Abraham Heschel whom I later met. Jaroslav Pelikan's Riddle of Roman Catholicism was excellent. I really began understanding that faith isn't a Catholic Church prerogative.
In my "leisure" time, I was very active with the Catholic Interracial Council. Msgr. Gingras one day said to me to make an appointment with Archbishop O'Boyle. I asked why and he replied that he had recommended me to the Archbishop for a brand new position in the Archdiocese. I had never met an archbishop before. I was interviewed and was hired in September 1961 with three titles (Catholic economics): I was Executive Secretary of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Men, Secretary of the Archdiocesan Office of Urban Renewal and Secretary of the Archbishop's Committee on Human Relations.
The early Sixties were unique. I quickly became the focal point for people who wanted to influence the Archbishop on either "race" matters or in the complex and highly lucrative area of urban renewal (the Catholic Church owned a lot of property). I was offered a lot of "Board" positions with many organizations and even offered "retainers." These, I happily was able to refuse. I saw myself working for Christ and Christ wasn't a Board member of anything.
As the Civil Rights efforts intensified, I helped lead the response of the Archdiocese. I was always a "networker" and had friends all over the place. For instance, I was one of the 6 member local committee who made all the arrangements for the 1963 March on Washington.
From September 1961 to November 1963, I was totally on a cloud. John Kennedy was in the White House and Pope John XXIII was in the Vatican calling for fresh air. Then John XXIII died and Kennedy was assassinated. President Johnson kept the Civil Rights momentum going, but something was happening in Rome. Vatican Council II concluded its work but something seemed to change.
As the Civil Rights struggle became more intransigent and more violence was erupting, my counsel for more radical action by the Archdiocese was no longer being appreciated. (My posture on Urban Renewal was that basically urban renewal was "Negro" (poor) removal and should be resisted until more poor people became City Planners or more City Planners became poor. This position was not well appreciated. In June of 1965, the War on Poverty was moving into full gear. I was feeling more and more isolated and decided that the Archbishop would feel more comfortable with a priest to take my position. I resigned with the understanding that the then Father Geno Baroni would take my place. (Fortunately, when I left, I left a place that had to be filled.)
I then went to work for the United Planning Organization as the Manpower Director for Urban Renewal Area II. (While at the Archdiocese, I had developed a proposal for this urban renewal area in an attempt to make urban renewal work for the poor. After two years with UPO, I left, disgusted with the direction this initiative was taking. I immediately went to work with the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies in charge of their Urban Careers program. I lasted a year before funding ran out.
Because of past networking, Father David Ray, a rather radical priest, offered me a job at his parish in South Arlington, I took it and ended up running PROJECT COMMITMENT, an interracial program for all of Northern Virigina. It was excellent. For 8 weeks on every Monday, 400 White Catholics in Northern Virginia met together with about 100 Black Catholics and they talked about race. This initiative was approved by the then Bishop of Richmond who appointed a Committee of Priests to supervise me.
I ended up being fired by the Committee of Priests and was given the most deeply moving farewell I have ever witnessed. The Black Catholics of Northern Virginia refused any "white" money to help defray the costs of this farewell. Apparently, my sin was that I asked the Black Community what was the problems of racism being experienced. The Priests became progressively uncomfortable with the 8 nights of meetings and the speakers I had selected.
Being now unemployed, Msgr. Geno Baroni asked me to help him with the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs. I did and headed up its credit union effort (Geno and I were long time credit unionists and cooperators.) I set my sights to implement credit unions in low income and poverty areas all across the United States and this happened. In 1976 or 77, I decided to separate from the NCUEA and start my own effort where I could concentrate exclusively on low income and poverty areas. This was Alternative Economics, Inc.
With no grants, no contracts, with no prospect for funding, I knew this is what God wanted me to do. AE continued in full force until 1983 when I became ill. (I am a celiac sprue patient. For some reason, it took an incredibly long time for me to be properly diagnosed. In the meantime, I was literally slowly starving to death.) From 1977 to 1983, AE moved over $5 million as nonmember share deposits into low income credit unions. This money built housing for campesinos in Arizona, helped small cotton farmers in the Lower Rio Grande, bought trucks on the Navaho nation and made. many, many consumer loans. For me, this was gospel economics. My earnings were so low during this period that my wife had to go to work to help support the family.
My illness continued for a long period and AE was finally given up. I was very physically weak and could not hold down a regular job. I worked as a "document coder" for $5.50 an hour. It was mindless work but it did bring in money and it did not tire me. I did this work for about 2 years.
I then helped Harry Thomas to become elected to the City Council of Washington, D.C. and of course went to work with him. I love Harry but I could not work with Harry so I quit and went to work with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Administration of the city. There, I directed Project Outreach on the public housing sites East of the Anacostia River, and ended up being the Contract Manager for ADASA. (It was during this period that I decided to study to become a Deacon. I completed a three year course and was ordained on September 14, 1991.) At ADASA, I was helping that population of D.C. mostly Black, mostly ill-schooled and mostly unemployed. For me, this work was so rewarding, I was sorry that I had to receive a paycheck. One should do this work free.
I then was asked to serve at a higher level at the Commission of Public Health and here I got caught, figuratively, in a "by-pass" shooting. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I and my supervisor were accused of helping the Director of the AIDS office in contract steering. I ended up being fired. By this time I was already working at the Whitman-Walker Clinic at significantly higher salary than at D.C. Government. This charge was political in origin and was settled politically. D.C. Government paid all my legal expense ($25,000), erased my being fired and I resigned with a clean slate (I resigned from D.C. Government six months after I was already working at Whitman-Walker Clinic.)
I enjoyed Whitman-Walker Clinic. I found out many, many catholics are both gay and alcohol/drug dependent. I also felt their deep hurt and resentment against the Catholic Church and initially me, because I did not hide the fact that I was a Deacon. When I entered Whitman-Walker Clinic, the drug program was in chaos. One Counselor had quit the day I arrived (over an argument with the other counselor). The other counselor died within three months.
I especially liked working at Whitman-Walker because it was gay. I felt that my presence there as a Catholic Deacon would speak both to the Gay community and to the Catholic Church. I felt called to do this. I have had close friends who were Gay for many, many years.
By this time, I am beginning to get a little old and beginning to tire much more easily. So I retired in 1995, my wife retired in January 1996 and we finally decided to do some things we always talked about and we did. We travelled through America visiting two of my elder brothers in California, very old friends in Arizona and Texas, my wife's sister in Illinois, my cousin in Kentucky and then came home. The following year, we spent a month in Florida visiting family and friends.
In between, I was a Deacon at St. Francis de Sales church. I was never too taken with the title of Deacon, seldom wore a collar and seldom refer to myself as a Deacon. Rather, what I was able to do as a Deacon is what is important for me. Parishioners see me as representing the Church and I honestly think that from me they get a more Christ-filled Church and little or nothing of the institutional church. Parishioners started early coming to me with problems or advice, which I seldom give. The parishioners also appreciated the quality of my homilies. [Unfortunately, deacons in the Catholic Church have been placed in bags and they are fine as long as they stay in their bags].
Since 1991, Sister Dana, who organized the parish's Bereavement Ministry, has asked me to be the homilist at our annual MASS OF REMEMBRANCE. On November 14 of this year, I will deliver my 8th homily at these Masses.
Over my years as a deacon, a certain tension began to develop between the Pastor (whom I have known for years and like very much) and me. In addition, my wife has severe macular degeneration and is functionally blind. I decided that I should take a year off from my duties at St. Francis so my wife and I could re-group and I would be free to pursue other avenues as a deacon. I asked the Cardinal to release me from my assignment at St. Francis de Sales. This he did. I retain all of the faculties of a Deacon. I do intend to return to St. Francis as an active deacon at some point. I also curtailed my extra-curricular activities. I now am active only with the Dave Clark Coalition Against the Death Penalty and serve on the Citizens' Board at Providence Hospital and I am the patient advocate on Providence's Institutional Review Board.
In caring about and for people, I have been, for some time, talking to my wife about entering hospital ministry. While I still have breath and sufficient strength, I need to serve the Lord. Hospital ministry seems to be where my call is coming from.
Retirement December 1, 1965
Whitman-Walker Clinic 1993 to 1995
(Assoc. Dir, Mental Health Services, Director of the Clinic's outpatient drug treatment program)
D.C. Government 1987 to 1993
(Contract Administrator...1992 to 1993
Acting Chief, Prevention...1990 to 1991
High Risk Coordinator...1988 to 1990
Specialist...1987 to 1988
Temporary Jobs 1983 to 1986
(These covered many different employers for different length of times and covered the period of my severe illness. None of these jobs were either professional or managerial. They were at or slightly above minimum wage jobs.
Alternative Economics, Inc. 1997 to 1983 (See text description above)
National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs 1970-1977 (See text description above)
Diocese of Richmond 1968 to 1970 (See text description above)
Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies 1966 to 1967
United Planning Organization 1965 to 1966
Archdiocese of Washington 1961 to 1965
D.C. Government 1959 to 1961
Fides Neighborhood House 1956 to 1959
St. Peter Claver Center 1955 to 1956
All work prior to this was in Montana. I had many different jobs: night shift operator at a gas station, dynamite man, section hand on the railroad, bartender, special police officer, clerk in a clothing store, union organizer, union paper editor, etc.
Some time last year, 1997, I received a phone call from Deacon John Kelly. Deacon Kelly exercises a ministry at Providence Hospital in the Palliative Care Unit. His request: Providence Hospital is releasing a patient (broken leg with full leg cast) to his home who has no food in the home. Can St. Francis de Sales do anything about it? John gave me his phone number. My response was that I will find out. Sr. Dana, who handles these kinds of emergencies, was out of town for a week. I phoned the man and was told he hadn't eaten since noon. So, I ordered a piazza and brought it to him. Sure enough, he had a broken leg, was in a full leg cast and quite hungry. We talked and I asked how he came to be in this position.
His job was secure. He was on sick leave (United Parcel Service but there was a paper work foul up and he hadn't received any check yet). That did not answer my question, because the house he was living in was being repossessed, the heat was about to be turned off and the house was in terrible condition. His answer to my obvious question was that he and his wife had broken up. I told him to keep warm, have a good nights sleep and I bet if he really tried, he could make matters even worse. I left him with my phone number and left.
The next day he phoned me saying he was terribly hungry. The only thing he had eaten was my pizza. I told him I would bring him some food and after this food ran out, I would bring him to a homeless shelter. At St. Francis, Sr. Dana has a food pantry and I brought about a week's supply of food (which he appreciated) and I asked him what was his plan to make matters worse for him. We talked for about an hour. As he talked, I kept shooting down all of his defense mechanisms. I left and invited him to phone me if he wished to continue serious discussion.
Of course, he phoned. Over a period of two weeks, we talked frequently. He got a friend to bring him to his doctor appointment (I refused to do it), he contacted his union representative with whom I also spoke, he phoned the gas company to negotiate a payment plan, and began listening to his pastor (Baptist) who agreed to monitor his budget. The last I know, this lovely young man may be moving his life in a different direction.
There was obviously an immediate need for food. There was equally obvious an inability to manage resources. Food for a limited period was to be provided. Resources (money) should not be given to bail out his many problems. Rather, his situation should be used as a self-evaluation exercise.
What could be effectively done was very limited. Food was provided and an attempt was made to change very negative and destructive attitudes. How successful this attempt was is not known by me.
My impression of CPE is largely through Fr. Jack Wintermeyer who speaks quite highly of the program. The description of the program given to me by Rev. Kimble was quite appealing.
I feel I have another 7 good years left in me. I want these years to be comforting years to people who are sick and dying. More and more my own ministry inclination has been in this direction. Being this is the case, I want to do it professionally, hence, my need for training.