Sunday Homilies : Commemorating the 1908 Springfield Race Riot, Old State Capitol, Saturday, September 6, 2008

from Father Kevin Laughery, Troy St. Jerome and St. Jacob St. James Parishes, Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Note: Comments from this page do not reach me; instead, email:

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I did not preach this past weekend because of the presence of a visiting priest.

I did participate in an interfaith service commemorating the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois, on Saturday, September 6, in the Hall of Representatives of the Old State Capitol, Springfield.  I gave the welcome; here are my remarks:

Welcome to a place which people call "historic."

We can think of the time when this was the lawmaking center for the entire state, and when a man of this city grappled with our nation's prospect of becoming "a house divided."

We can recall that the body of this slain President was viewed here by the people for the last time.

Later, this place became this county's seat for seeking, but not always finding, justice.

Today we remember justice denied and justice miscarried here.

And we remember what "history" means.

History is not a charming tale that we contemplate from a distance.

For as surely as we are in this place, we are history, whether we want to be or not.

So today we turn from the expression "You're history," as meaning that one is over and done with, and embrace instead the identity of ourselves as history, as the cause of a just and loving future, as people whose repentance, conversion and dedication build a future worthy of the dignity of human beings.

Category:Sunday Homilies -- posted at: 11:18am CST