Tag Archives: Father John Conlon

On Race and Love: Let Us Find New Eyes


When I was a teenager, I used to sit in my corner bedroom in our house in Southern California and talk into my tape recorder, sharing musings, thoughts about life, questions about human nature. So much had happened in our family’s life by the time I was 13-years-old. In May of 1973, my father’s brother, a socially progressive Catholic priest, was murdered in his rectory in Queens, New York. My uncle, you could say, was a “white man.” The person who killed him you could call an “African-American man.” We just didn’t think that way, then. This was a terrible loss. The heart punctured.  My father, an FBI agent, who had lost his brother, could say nothing about it. The tragedy ran too deep. The priest at St. Bonaventure in Queens, my uncle’s best friend, who said the homily during that funeral mass, proclaimed that the murderer was forgiven the moment my uncle’s spirit arrived to heaven.

Compassion. Forgiveness. Love. We are all brothers and sisters.

All these decades later, this is the sentiment and hope that remain within me. How can we despite the color of our skins look at one another in the eye as brothers and sisters on this same Earth together? This is a lesson I learned so many decades ago. And it is a conversation I know we all are eager to share in today.

May it be so.