Jack Hammers (gracefully)

Through morning sun the sound of jackhammer on stone:

Gasson Hall under concerted planned regulated gracious attack

In the few yards between here and there birds sing

Runners run, dogs walk, greens sway in the June breeze.

And I muse:

In Afghan villages this morning violence and death prowls

Men and women who walked these streets,

And those who never have.

In mid-America tornadoes will swirl mayhem this week,

And earthquake in parts seen and unseen.

The hammer that breaks the stone, the gun,

The storm, the roiling earth:

Are not these all at last the outward form of grace,

Tools in the hand of One who wills to heal

To take down and rebuild

By whatever means necessary?

Did not Flannery say “all human nature

vigorously resists grace because

grace changes us and

the change is painful”?

The double-edged sword is wielded at

Every moment in every life.

Enjoy the assault.

It’s not only the best you can do.

It’s what you’re for.

(J McGinty, 6/25/10)

Gasson Hall, Boston College, 1913

Move it!

I’ve been on the move since 2005.  That summer I spent an amazing three months with the Benedictines of Glenstal Abbey outside of Limerick City in Ireland.  The next year I left Sacred Heart Parish in Lynn, went on leave from active priesthood in the archdiocese of Boston and began working at the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College.  I was part-time, directing continuing education.  The next year I was half-time there and half-time as interim assistant director of The Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College.  And the last two years I’ve been serving as acting director of the C21 Center.  All of these have been marvelous opportunities.  I have been able to be involved in many projects, the likes of which I never would have foreseen myself doing.  Surrounded all the day by wonderful and committed people, it has been a great experience to be able to serve the community of the Church in this, a new and unexpected way.

At the same time and over this same period, I have lived in friends’ basements and condos, in university-provided housing and in rented apartments, in family-owned homes in so many places that I can hardly name them all: Lynn, Newburyport, Brighton, Newton, Belmont, Arlington, Cambridge. Hudson.   Now on the last day of this month I’ll be moving again, this time leaving Porter Square in Cambridge.  I’ve been there for the past year, and it is a fantastic place to be.  Everything you could need is right outside the door, along with a wonderfully diverse population – from Lesley and Harvard University students and faculty, to seniors who have lived in the neighborhood since World War II.  This place will always remain brilliantly alive in my heart.

That’s not the end of the moving.  More significantly I will be leaving Boston College and the directorship of the C21 Center in August this year.  I’ll be saying more about that move and what’s to come in future entries here.  I also want to write about the ‘motion’ that I have noted in these years outside myself – in the Church, in the nation, in the world.

Space for contemplation outside Saint Mary's Hall, Boston College