In Loving Memory,
we humbly dedicate the US Face to Face Voter Project work in honor of
Father Bill O'Donnell
"We're all connected and sin is when we're disconnected. Sin is the separation of human beings."
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Targets of his educational efforts ranged wide over the decades, from directors of Catholic hospitals, who tried to block their employees from unionizing, to U.S. District Judge G. Mallon Faircloth, who last year sentenced Father O'Donnell to six months in federal prison for trespassing at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, GA. "He could not, not speak the truth, no matter who or what was involved. El Salvador, Fort Benning, the Concord Naval Weapons facility, the farm owners, even some of the big union bosses -- he would tell them, 'This is against the teaching of Christ.' Bill actually stood at the sentencing and told the judge that the court was pimping for the Pentagon," said the Rev. Louis Vitale of St. Boniface Church in San Francisco. Father O’Donnell frequently clashed with his hierarchical superiors and liked to say he was "a bishop’s nightmare."
Dr. Davida Coady and Father O'Donnell founded Options Recovery in Berkeley for the drug and alcohol addicted and took turns over their 30-year friendship pulling one another into various causes. They made some 20 trips to Latin America and Mexico and two to the Middle East. "He attacked everything head-on," Coady said. "And he really got a charge out of people and their stories. He found a genuineness of poor and oppressed people stimulating -- it’s why he didn't burn out -- and he saw the priesthood as a way of fighting for social justice."
"I was really honored to know Bill,” Martin Sheen said. "If you meet one person like him in your life, you're a lucky person. I'm a lucky person."
To Vitale, Father O'Donnell "was a true prophet. Not many come along, but something in them compels them to speak the truth and put their body out there. He preached it, and he lived it, talked the talk and walked the walk."
Father Bill O'Donnell was loved by many, many and we will greatly miss him.
This article was in part excerpted from the San Francisco Chronicle article.
...to be revolutionary is to judge the world by its present state, by actual facts in the name of a truth which does not yet exist (but is coming) and it is to do so because we believe this truth to be more genuine and more real than the reality which surrounds us.
Father Bill's favorite quote