From the shadow of Pike's Peak in Colorado Springs, CO, Fr. Vince Kuna, C.S.C, has sent in his latest blog entry sharing his adventures as a parish priest. Today he shares how the needs of the people of God in our midst, often in our very neighborhoods, call us to a deeper witness.
As we all know too well, the American economy has run in neutral, with little hope for recovery in the near future. I've witnessed firsthand a recession afflicting the very neighborhood our rectory is situated in.
Neighbors of ours have been looking for work for well over a year. And with a tanking economy, a dearth of legitimate professions often gives way to illicit ones. I witnessed my first drug deal walking around the park last month. Within the same week, a parishioner attending a dinner at the parish had a window of her van smashed and her purse snatched by some ne'er-do-well. Then, as if to punctuate the week, a roar of loud noises and screeching tires woke me up one Saturday night. Driving out to celebrate the Sunday Masses, I saw police lines obstructing traffic down a nearby street. My worst fears were confirmed: A teenager was shot dead at a house party, a victim presumably of gang violence.
Recent events remind me of my vow of poverty—the only one of the three vows I've found can be reduced to an afterthought if I'm not praying about it deliberately. Well, the poverty vow found me. It found me in the people I serve, whose once quiet neighborhood of working class folk has a new set perils to deal with. By living in their very neighborhood, I remember the Holy Cross Constitutions which state by consecrated poverty "we seek to share the lot of the poor." Our Constitutions remind me to set down my diary, come down from my mountain and spend a day in the 'hood.
Furthermore, we "unite in their cause, trusting in the Lord as provider." I certainly point our local community to our Lord Jesus Christ as provider, when corporate America and government have failed in that role. I do with my own personal style and good natured irreverence. Wearing my St. André bandana as if I was an actor in Rihanna's "Run This Town" video, I remind neighbors that it's actually Jesus Christ and his beloved St. Andre who "run this town."