Our province has two parishes in the middle of the current protests happening in Minneapolis, Minnesota—Holy Rosary, pastored by Fr. Jerry Stookey, OP and St. Albert the Great, pastored by Fr. Joe Gillespie, OP. The brothers there are busy trying to calm the situation, leading prayer services, working with peaceful protesters when they can, all while the violent protests are a block away from their door and sirens run all night. We asked Fr. Gillespie to share a few thoughts and photos and this is what he sent:
"Scenes from the current apocalypse! Day four of arson, looting and violence. Two police stations torched and many buildings in both Minneapolis and St. Paul destroyed. All night sirens and dense smoke create a surreal effect. Last evening at midnight, I received 34 displaced people to sleep in St. Albert's social hall. Current presence of National Guard and police seem ineffectual in quelling the angry mobs. St. Paul police arrested a number of "outside agitators" who have inflamed the riots for their own agenda. Initial local marches had been peaceful but clearly forceful about the injustice of the killing of George Floyd. Mob violence has overtaken groups, and the police and the Guard seem to have abandoned the critical neighborhoods.
Jerry Stookey and I have engaged in assisting parishioner needs and in trying to calm their fears. I will be opening the parish for mass this evening at 5pm. I am sure that many parishioners will be dealing with the twin fears of Covid-19 and the uncertainty of personal safety in this time of violence. Indeed, on this feast of Pentecost, we will need an infusion of the Holy Spirit! Best to you, Joe"
(Top photo: Burned out truck after the riots, photo by Fr. Joe Gillespie, OP)