Father Edwin Leahy is impressive, although he doesn’t think so. There’s some videos below that explain a lot of what he has done and what his work is. Some of his insights as he spoke:
- Racism is America’s original sin.
- White people in power knew what they were doing, starting in the 1800’s, to neutralize black males who were now free, and that neutralization continues today.
- Most of the students he is responsible for at his all boy school are missing fathers. They need help discovering and amplifying their voice.
- Be quiet and listen. Folks in the community will eventually tell you what they need.
- Tell people, ‘God loves me to the cross. But also, love others.’
- Recognize attitudes versus the vastness and vagueness of “culture.”
- Whatever helps or hurt my brothers and sisters helps or hurts me.
- Tend to their hearts.
- Create community.
- Create leadership opportunities.
- Accepting the Other and where they are.
- Be okay with arguing; sometimes provoke fights. It’s not okay to stay comfortable.
- Remember: the orchestra tunes to the first violinist.
- Develop listening skills.
- People will teach you how you can best be of service to them.
He said, “I wasn’t called to be successful, I was called to be faithful.” A great joy is seeing boys who graduated return as fathers with their kids. They are designed to be a community that bears one another’s burdens. He told a story of an expelled student who was a Junior and he never left. He sat outside his office for two days and the Father told the other boys, “No, he’s out.” The next morning, the kids hid him. During attendance, they’d call his name as absent when he was there and then stopped. They spent the year avoiding each other and his Senior year the Father welcomed him back.
Why is there a fence around this school in downtown Newark? It marks off holy ground in the middle of a city in struggle. Like Moses, in the middle of the ordinary we encounter the extraordinary. Remember: Not all fires destroy; some fires ignite us.
Just a little bit about Father Edwin Leahy and what he does.