We follow Jesus and we follow LOVE. We want to learn the history of justice making in the United States and in the world. We are part of the legacy of Jesus the Christ as manifested in many persons throughout history, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Freedmen and women and slaves, and John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy brothers and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name just a few. So we wanted to go to Washington DC where so much of American history and herstory and our story was made and remembered. For us, representing the teens and young adults and all members of our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Church of Fort Myers,Florida this trip was a FIRST in so many ways. Four of us were born and raised in Fort Myers and we never saw another State, or flew in a plane, or took a subway, or even a bus. We wanted to see more of the world and we got to do all of this! This is a little of what we did and saw. We are Natasha Terrell, 18 and Felice Rismay, 21, the working and College students. And we are Jolinda Terrell, and Keeron Jones, High School Students and Keeondra Terrell, an eighth grader. Our Pastors, Roman Catholic women priests Judy Beaumont and Judy Lee were our guides for this amazing trip. Our church and The Father’s Table Foundation and individual donors made this adventure into life and justice available to us and we are so thankful.
At the Capitol Natasha Terrell stands beneath the statue of Rosa Parks sitting on the bus and sparking the Civil Rights Movement
OUR DREAM IS TO BUILD THE BELOVED COMMUNITY OF JESUS and DR. KING
The Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King made his I Have A Dream speech Abraham Lincoln (At the Capitol)
WE WANT TO HONOR DR. KING AND ALL FREEDOM FIGHTERS
WE STAND AT HIS FEET AND ON HIS SHOULDERS and on the shoulders of ALL who gave their lives for freedom and justice for all.
It was exciting to see and go to the top of the Washington Monument and understand how the United States of America came to be.
It was very special to go inside of the White House. We hoped to see a glimpse of President Obama or his family but they were not home. We learned that Malia and Sasha can go into all of the rooms that we were able to see whenever they want to. They also have their own movie theater.
Pastor Judy B and Felice are near the statues of a couple struggling with poverty and Felice is near the statue of one of her heroines, Eleanor Roosevelt .The group members are standing on the bread line that marked the great depression and homelessness and hunger today as well in the USA and world-wide.
We too want to fight for economic equality and for PEACE.
Keeron Jones standing under FDR’s Pledge of the New Deal that still helps people today.
The Arlington Cemetery was a hallowed place. We prayed before going there and as we saw a funeral in progress there. We prayed at the site of the eternal light at President John F.Kennedy’s grave and at the graves of all the Kennedys. We tried to understand how so many members of one family gave their lives for freedom and equality.
Jolinda is pleased that the light never goes out.
We also went up the hill to the “impressive” house owned by the Washington-Custis-Lee family. We were truly impressed, however, as we visited the slave quarters in the back and learned that the Washington’s personal maid was able to buy freedom for her son by sharing the story of his death with a reporter as she was with him as he died. It was difficult to witness slave history but we learned of the courage and accomplishments of the slaves. We also learned that slaves were treated better by the Washington’s than by the Robert E. Lee family. We were able to feel the reasons for the Civil War and see the bravery of those enslaved.
It meant even more to understand who Frederick Douglas was after viewing this history.
Keeron at the foot of Frederick Douglas in the Capitol
We also visited The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic Cathedral in the United States where we prayed and were amazed at the stories in the pictures. It was overwhelming to some of the group but very beautiful. All of the paintings and the statues told the story of Christ and of God’s love for all people and for justice and equality. The paintings and statues of Mary, the Mother of Jesus with Jesus showed Mary and Jesus as Chinese, Czech, Native American, African and Mexican and dark and light and of many Nationalities. Keeondra and Natasha were in awe while Jolinda said that she was happy that we have a much smaller church where we can all know and love one another. When we lit a candle to pray for a sick family member Keeron questioned why I put money in the box, did we have to pay to pray here? We explained that we never had to pay to pray but that was a love offering like we give in church on Sundays. Yet, his question was astute. He and Jolinda were not comfortable with all the gold and glitz, and I told him that he is in good company for neither is Pope Francis. As we traveled in Washington we saw many homeless people. Our group members appropriately questioned why homelessness was everywhere, even in our Nation’s Capital. The Pastors were pleased to see that this moved our young people who dug in their pockets to be helpful. But once again they asked good questions. Indeed we pray that their questions and answers may help bring the reign of God to all people here and now.
This trip was well worth every effort that it took and we are thankful to all who helped it to take place. We will post other aspects of this journey in a separate post. Thanks be to God for these young people who follow Christ! Rev. Dr. Judy Lee and Rev. Judy Beaumont, Roman Catholic Women Priests and Co-Pastors of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida.