Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(88) Andrew Kentigern Moore: Martyr for the Cause of Life -- Giving His Life So that Many May Live

Andrew Moore

        Andrew (Kent) Moore, a friend and classmate of my daughter Stephanie at the very scholarly and Christ centered Thomas Aquinas College at Santa Paula just outside of Los Angeles, finished his sophomore year in the school's Great Books program.  This summer he participated in the pro-life Crossroads (http://www.crossroadswalk.com) walk across America that left San Francisco on May 11 and expected to arrive in Washington D.C. on August 11 for a pro-life rally.  Along the way, they attend daily Mass, share their message of life at parishes, and pray in front of abortion clinics.  

         It was foggy early in the morning of July 11 and Andrew's shift of walkers. wearing reflective vests, was plodding along, praying the rosary for the unborn while passing through Stilesville, Indiana, close to Indianapolis. Suddenly, Andrew Moore was hit by a car that apparently strayed onto the edge of the road. He died instantly. This hero not only gave up his summer for the cause of life, but his own life as well. May he leave a legacy that will contribute significantly to a culture of life in our country and inspire many to join this very noble cause.  Perhaps through this tragedy and his previous work, Andrew will have done more for the pro-life cause than most activists can do in a normal lifetime.  After all, it is not how many years we live, but how profoundly we live them. 
 
         According to Stephanie, Andrew was the most beautiful person she ever met. This kind and saintly youth with a maturity beyond his years, was discerning a possible call to the priesthood. He would be seen in the chapel praying, for example meditating on the stations of the cross. Andrew was very intelligent, particularly sharp in philosophy, and eloquent in classroom discussions about the great books, yet humble in helping his classmates during out of class study groups. As a friend and at dances and other social events as well, he was witty and pleasant.

         During our visit to Thomas Aquinas College August 10-13, other students gave me additlonal observations.  Andrew was a meek person, who would never impose.  He gave lucid and insightful interventions in class.  He was so passionate about the Right to Life Movement that he would get everyone's attention at dinner in the cafeteria and give a pro-life announcement and ask for prayers for a pending bill in a state legislature or government, Congress, or the Obama Administration. 

        He would often be seen walking around Campus in the afternoon or evening praying the rosary either alone or with a couple of friends.  It would be a fitting memorial and legacy to have a daily rosary walk in his memory that would become a campus tradition under the stars of southern California at this very Christ centered college.  The climate is ideal for that all year round.  One of the rosary intentions would be of course for life from conception to natural death.  The students would be invigorated spiritually and physically.  It would be a wonderful break from study as the brain cells would be oxygenated and thus more efficient.

        Andrew's mother is a classy lady, who called to thank Stephanie for helping to animate a spontaneous get together over ice cream with her and a few students.. Andrew's father, Joseph Moore refused to blame anyone for the tragedy.  He wrote the beautiful and eloquent essay below on his son that tells a lot about the person of this pro-life hero. His letter is special and portrays the best of the pro-life movement and what it is supposed to be as exemplified by Andrew Kentigern Moore.

ANDREW MOORE: 1991 – 2012
Millions of fathers have had to come to grips with the tragic, untimely deaths of a beloved child. I am no different, and no different in wanting my son remembered for the unique and good man that he was. Here are a few pieces of his story.
Andrew, our beloved son, was hit by a car while walking along an Indiana highway with Crossroads, a pro-life group that sponsors college students on walks across America each summer. He died instantly. In this modern world, we’d reflexively add that he died doing what he loved – a somewhat true but strangely self-focused way to see it. What Andrew loved was not, exactly, the pro-life movement. In fact, I can safely say he pretty much hated praying in front of the local abortion mill, and had a very hard time making himself say anything to the people as they walked by. He hated the occasional mockery and confrontations. He hated being there alone most mornings. There was none of that peculiar self-righteousness that is the hallmark of the secular protests us residents of the San Francisco Bay Area see, the patting of oneself on the back for sticking it to the man while hooting it up for the cameras. Andrew’s mostly solitary protests were not a party, and were hardly even a protest. There was no man to stick it to – only women faced with a terrible ‘choice’.

What Andrew did love was the Truth. Decades of deconstruction, of Orwellian ‘critical thinking, have succeeded in painting the love of Truth as some sort of disorder, as naïve and simplistic – Andrew, by some mysterious grace, was immune to this poison. While he might have been naïve and simplistic about many things, his intellect, by another mysterious grace, was profound and mature far beyond his years. His love of Truth lead him to a love of God, to a love of neighbor, to Thomas Aquinas College – and to untold lonely hours spent in front of Planned Parenthood. And to the walk that resulted in his being taken from us.
Once Andrew understood the truth, he saw no way he could escape spending hours praying on the sidewalk. Nor – and this is critically important – helping out at all the crisis pregnancy support groups in the area. He is well known and well loved by the people at Concord Birth Right and at the Gabriel Project, as he always showed up to help whenever they needed him. He knew that success was not defined by simply talking a women out of getting an abortion – success meant that he - and all of us – stepped up to help, to love that woman and her baby unconditionally and materially for the rest of their lives.

But on a much deeper level, he understood that embracing the truth meant, ultimately, embracing the Cross. There is a heavy price to pay for loving people. We will fail, and we will be ridiculed, and we will be spat upon by those we try to help. But that is nothing compared to the suffering when we succeed, when we will the good of the other for the sake of the other. The pain we then feel, if we are so blessed, is the slow death of our selves.

Some people have called Andrew a martyr. I can understand why, but it makes me very uncomfortable. In the popular imagination, a martyr gets dragged in front of a firing squad or thrown to the lions. Since Andrew’s death was nothing so dramatic, calling him a martyr risks making his sacrifice merely hyperbolic and therefore easily dismissed. At the same time, martyrdom is the correct and traditional way to describe the process of dying to one’s self for the sake of God through the selfless love of others. Understood in that way, Andrew’s life was a martyrdom, and I cannot feel he was cheated in any way by how short it was. For the rest of us, his death remains a tragedy and a mystery. May God have mercy on his soul, and console the inconsolable.
Joseph Moore
July 21, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

(87) Ohio Chautauqua: History Comes Alive in Gallipolis.......Marietta, Urbana, Burton, & Warren too


        The following is an adaption of my article that appeared on the front page of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune on July 19, 2012.  An abbreviated form originally appeared as a Letter to the Editor on June 22, 2006.  It was the first Ohio Chautauqua that appeared in Gallipolis.  This one is the fourth to appear in the City of the Gauls in even years.  The year 2014 will bring the fifth Ohio Chautauqua to the Gallia County seat.

Dr. Madame Maria Curie Sklodowska, winner of two Nobel Prizes first for Physics and later for Chemistry,
describes  how she  isolated and discovered radium in the Chautauqua tent in the Gallipolis, Ohio City Park..

HISTORY COMES ALIVE IN GALLIPOLIS, OHIO

        Imagine that you are in a time capsule with the ability to go back into time and to meet and talk to the great historical figures we can only read about in our history books. You can come close to that this week at the Gallipolis City Park each evening at 7:30 pm as we meet fascinating and entertaining characters of the Ohio Frontier when Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory of the fledgling United States of America.


        The 2012 historical figures are in the above photo.  Appearing first was Margaret Blennerhassett, a wealthy British immigrant who with her husband built a mansion on an island of the Ohio River between Marietta, Ohio and Parkersburg, WV. They contributed to the development of the region and stopping a small pox epidemic. Today the mansion is a rebuilt tourist attraction, accessible from Parkersburg (http://www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com).  Also appearing this week is the young Oliver Hazard Perry, as he talks about his life and narrates the details of building a fleet of ships under his command on shore and the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  York, a slave, who had an important role in the Lewis & Clark Expedition, follows on Thursday.  Then Friday has Chief John Logan, a peace maker on the frontier. The finale on Saturday features the dynamic Hank Finiken, a fixture on the annual Chautauqua circuit as Johnny Appleseed. This teacher/actor/scholar portrays a variety of historical figures for schools and community groups as his profession throughout the year (http://www.hankfincken.comhttp://www.terrificspeakers.com/html/hank_fincken.html).  

        Last year five Civil War figures were featured.  In previous years we have met Chief Cornstalk of the French & Indian War; Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador of the Incas in Peru; Ernie Pyle, the famed war correspondent of World War II; Clara Barton, a Civil War Nurse, who achieved fame as “The Angel of the Battlefield” and later as a pioneering leader in Red Cross war and disaster relief.  Other guests included W.C. Fields, an early star of radio and movies; Margaret Mitchell, the author of “Gone with the Wind”; Eleanor Roosevelt; and President Theodore Roosevelt of “Rough Riders” fame shown below.

Dr. John "Chuck" Chalberg, a college professor of history, appears as Theodore Roosevelt.  He's a well known
figure on the  Catholic cable channel EWTN in portraying the great British writer, Lord G. K. Chesterton.
   
       These actor/scholars have studied and researched their characters in depth. Thus it seems as though the actual historical figure comes to life in garb of the period and vividly share his/her thoughts.  Each one shows his/her personality, character, and mannerisms with insightful stories and anecdotes of his/her personal life, speaking in the first person. 

         In a second act so to speak members of the audience participate in a press conference format and ask questions, where all imagine they are living in the time of the historical figure in his/her time and know nothing about the events following his death.  If the character is controversial, the audience can ask tough questions and even bait him. Francisco Pizarro was an inviting target since he demanded and received a room full of gold as ransom for the captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa and then proceeded to kill him anyway.  “General Pizarro, how can you go back on your word?  Where is your honor?”  Hank Fincken, put me, the questioner down in good natured fun. We became friends after that.  What an entertaining way to learn history and our heritage!

Francisco Pizarro is second from the right.  This group performed in  2006.
         In the third act the actor comes out of character and answers questions as a scholar from the perspective of today.

        Seminars in the Mornings and Afternoons. Each morning in the Bossard Library, there is a youth workshop for kids and a more scholarly program for adults in the afternoon. People of all ages are welcome at every session. Yes, Summer should be a time for rest, relaxation, vacationing, physical activity, sports, summer jobs, etc. But should learning cease when school is out? Why not learn and have fun doing it? Education must continue throughout life to keep our minds sharp and ourselves ever young at least in spirit.


         It’s a shame not to take advantage of this great opportunity sponsored by the Ohio Humanities Council (http://www.ohiohumanities.org/?page_id=9). Keep posted at that website for the locations and theme for next year.  If you're not from Ohio, perhaps you could put the word in the right ears or be instrumental in having something similar in your state or community.  The Ohio Chautauqua is a revival of the Chautauqua Lectures which were very popular from the 1890s through the 1920s as shown on the postage stamp above.......before movies, radio, television, and now the internet consumed and spoiled us. Let us revive this joy of learning at the Gallipolis City Park every evening of this week on the west bank of the Ohio downstream from Pittsburgh, Steubenville, and Marietta, upstream from Cincinnati......old steamboat stops on the way to the Mississippi River and ultimately New Orleans. 

        We cannot understand the present without understanding the past. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. History is not simply dates, names, places, and events. History is people who shaped the past and influenced the present and the future. We owe to them our heritage and to a large extent the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy today.

History Comes Alive
Published in the Gallipolis Daily Tribune on June 22, 2006
 Dear Editor:
          Imagine that you are in a time capsule with the ability to go back into time and to meet and talk with the great historical figures we can only read about in our history books. You can come close to that this week at the Gallipolis City Park each evening at 7:30 p.m. After meeting Chief Cornstalk, Francisco Pizarro and Ernie Pyle since Tuesday, today we will meet Clara Barton, a Civil War nurse who achieved fame as “The Angel of the Battlefield” and later as a pioneering leader in Red Cross war and disaster relief. Tomorrow, we will be the guests of President Theodore Roosevelt of “Rough Riders” fame.

         These are actors and scholars who have studied and researched their characters in depth. Thus it seems as though the historical figure vividly shares his/her thoughts and shows his personality, character and mannerisms with insightful stories. Later, the audience participates in a press conference format. If the character is controversial, the audience can ask tough questions and even bait him. Francisco Pizarro was an inviting target since he demanded and received a room full of gold for the captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa as ransom and then proceeded to kill him anyway. Hank Fincken put me, the questioner, down in good-natured fun. What a fun way to learn history and our heritage!

          Each morning in the library, there is a youth workshop for kids and a more scholarly program for adults in the afternoon. People of all ages are welcome at every session. Yes, summer should be a time for rest, relaxation, vacationing, physical activity, sports, summer jobs, etc. But should learning cease when school is out? Why not learn and have some fun doing it? Education must continue throughout life to keep our minds sharp.

             It's a shame not to take advantage of this great opportunity financed by the state of Ohio. The Ohio Chautauqua is a revival of the Chautauqua Lectures which were very popular during the 1920s and 1930s before television consumed and spoiled us. Let us revive this joy of learning. We cannot understand the present without understanding the past. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

Paul R. Sebastian
Rio Grande