I spent the second day of the Conclave in a cloud of determination bent on opposing Cardinal Dolan’s wishes that all cooperate with the Conclave. I was to involved with it to not be part of it. So I headed into the city by train first stopping at my daughter Sharon’s apartment in Washington Heights. The rain was torrential. While there I was delighted to find several huge boxes which held my grand children’s new beds. The boxes were perfect for writing my wishes about the Conclave and my first problem was solved. Leaving the apartment 20 minutes later I headed down by subway to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to case the place out. When I arrived I found the press swarming as they were reporting about the Conclave from the steps of the Cathedral. The rain was relentless. I left deciding to wait until the press left determined to return in the evening. Returning to Washington Heights I waited the day playing with my grandchildren. Then around 6:30 I set out again taking my unwieldy boxes on the Subway. First making a prayer of thankfulness for the rain had stopped and my final problem was solved.
Not surprisingly I found myself in a pub around the corner from St. Patrick’s fortifying myself with dinner for the long night. While there I struck up a conversation with an elderly black women who was seated alone next to me. This turned into a typical occupy conversation. First I talked about my mission and mass incarceration. Then she told me she had only slept for one hour, had just arrived from Virginia for a one day ministerial conference and then divulged several deeply personal childhood traumas. One included this story. “The night of the worst racial rioting in Mississippi, my father gathered all of his children in the car and he just drove. He drove until they were hungry and tired and in the middle of he had no idea where but it was away from the rioting. He stopped in front of a house knocked on the door and explained his plight. A white women welcomed them in and gave them dinner, filled several large boxes with food and sent them on their way.” Minister Cornelia told me I reminded her of this woman. We ended the evening with a very long embrace and her prayers for my mission and the healing of my brokenness. Taking my large boxes off I went to make my signs and stand in front of St. Patricks. The signs read:
Embrace the poor and
To the Cardinals
Cooperate with what?
More of the same?
I would say that about one hundred people passed St. Pat’s that night. All stopped to read the sign. No one said a word. It was like a silent prayer. Around midnight a man came and took pictures of the sign propped up against the huge doors of the Cathedral. He never said a word. When he left, the place was deserted so I left my sign on the closed doors and went home.