My Brothers and Sisters,
I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued generosity, compassion and loyalty to our simple life-giving, community-building Passionist Family Group Movement.
The Christmas Hampers (baskets) are an outstanding example of this; practical Christian love to families. Hampers are now in many parishes, having their humble beginnings in 1968 with 11 Hampers in the St. Ives parish – even before St. Anthony in the Fields, Terrey Hills.
A week ago I had no intention of leaving Australia and going to America. But with the death of Father Joseph Girzone in New York everything changed. Many of you would know Joe as the Author of “JOSHUA”, and those who don’t, well, you would love his books.
He was a mentor and inspiration for me over the past 25 years and I was privileged to visit him almost every year at Altamont, NY. When I was completely ‘down’ in detox in St. Louis and very much alone, he came to visit me. The first thing he did, was to kneel down and ask this alcoholic to bless him! How could I not go to honour him at his passing?
During this visit I have the unique opportunity of spending Christmas with my brothers in Dallas State Prison. While some could say, “Thank God, at last he’s behind bars!!”, I can say, – “Thank God, – I’m with my brothers and what a gift it is to be so.”
Following is my Christmas gift to you. A poem, unique and powerful, that was written within the dark walls of prison by Charles A. Sturdavant. He was a legend. The leader of men and a father to so many within the prison system. He is now FREE with God forever. Amen