This I Believe

JOHN - Southampton, Massachusetts
Entered on November 20, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: peace


I believe in peace, because we are all one family. When I was two, my Dad died. My mother taught me and my six siblings to always look out for each other. All seven of us stayed very close throughout our childhood and all seven of us knelt in a circle around my mother’s bed, the day she died, Christmas 1955. Normally, we would gather around the Christmas tree and share presents with one another, but that Christmas, we knelt around my mother’s bed and prayed the rosary. I believe my mother died happy because we were all with her praying together, as she taught us. I believe we should all be close because that’s the way my mother raised us. I believe in peace.

When I graduated from college, I volunteered to teach in a Jesuit high school in Kingston, Jamaica. I still remember Patrick Kennedy, one of my students. He was as black as the stove top. I asked Fr. Bill, “How did the darkest boy in my class end up with an Irish name?” Fr. Bill gave me a book entitled, The Black Irish of Jamaica. The book told the story of how the British brought slaves from Ireland, as well as Africa, to work the plantations. As a result, many Jamaicans have Irish names. Being Irish-American, I felt a connection with the black Irish Jamaicans, but not just with the black Irish Jamaicans, but with all the Jamaicans I met. At the age of twenty two, I learned that we are all connected, that they are human beings just like we are in North America. There I discovered that I had much in common with Jamaicans. I believe that I received more than I gave. I believe in peace.

As the poet John Donne said so eloquently, “No man is an island, entire of itself; /Every man is piece of the continent, a part of the main…”

Years later, I was ordained a priest and I volunteered to work in Ecuador. I loved the people in Ecuador. I found them to be gracious, fun loving, kind people, just like the Jamaicans, only their skin was a lighter brown. I believe we are all one family. I believe in peace.

After working in Ecuador, I married the bride of my dreams and we were blessed with three beautiful children. We taught them to play together and to pray together. I believe in peace.

My daughter, Tara, died at age 25. Our lives were shattered like a tree being hit by a lightning bolt. We set up a Fund in her memory to help other people suffering from eating disorders. I believe in health and peace. I believe my daughter is enjoying eternal peace.