Philip Berrigan, !Presente!

Today we commemorate the 10th anniversary of Philip Berrigan’s passing.  I consider Phil and Elizabeth McAllister to be my parents in the faith, nothing less than true north on my compass. 
We find ourselves these days working with a lot of young people coming through our place, and I often think back to the Fall of 1976 when I parked myself with Liz and Phil at Jonah House Community in Baltimore.  (Above: Phil, Liz and their first daughter Frida in 1975, a year before I arrived.)
I wonder if I was as clueless then as it seems so many of the young folk we meet now are.  And yet—that brief three months at Jonah was hugely determinative for the rest of my life.  I try to remind myself of that every time I see another young person come and go after a week or a month with us, and wonder what it’s worth.  We just never know.
I suspect that most of the seeds Liz and Phil sowed in their extraordinary lives, personally and politically, have germinated out of their knowing (not to mention all that fell on inhospitable soil).  But this seed—pressed 35 years ago into the soil of my life—knows its genealogy.  Phil and Liz transplanted the DNA of the movement and the gospel into my soul, and it ruined me (as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps like to say) for life.  For this I stand forever in their debt, and thus seek to do my small part in passing on the gift.
So… I give thanks this day for Phil, and for Liz, and for all who today carry on the sowing at Jonah House.