Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remembering David McCaffrey, One Year On

Yesterday, July 9, was the first anniversary of the death of my friend, colleague, and confidante David McCaffrey, co-founder of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM).

To commemorate David's life and legacy I hosted a gathering of folks who knew David through CPCSM and its most recent initiative, Catholics for Marriage Equality MN. We created sacred time and space together, shared food and wine, reminisced about our journey with David, and celebrated his gifts and achievements that inspire us still.

At one point we took turns reading aloud our friend Mary Lynn's Murphy's wonderful piece, "Remembering David McCaffrey," which she originally wrote for The Progressive Catholic Voice the day after his passing. Following are excerpts from Mary Lynne's tribute to David.

. . . David McCaffrey was a passionate man. For sure he had a temper, but he gave you an honest answer when you needed it. He had you-know-whats of steel when it came to facing down conflict, and never backed away from a struggle. He spoke out loud against the bigotry of presenters at an Archdiocesan "Marriage Panel" at the University of St. Thomas. It was he who sanctioned the suggestion of a "Die-In" at the Cathedral, never fearful of "making a spectacle."

David embodied the deepest sense of justice. He was relentless. At initial Safe Staff meetings with Catholic school administrators, David laid out our objectives with the precision of a Church historian, backed up by solid psychological data, and empathy for kids who were suffering. His professionalism, comfort with Catholic administrators, and obvious good heart helped establish our credibility. His understanding of boundary limits in schools set a professional basis for our effectiveness. His written summaries of the work were impeccable and detailed to the max. That man could write!

David was a man on fire in many respects, and the flames burned bright until the very last minute. He had co-convened Catholics For Marriage Equality MN to fight the anti-gay marriage amendment, and valiantly kept up communication websites despite health that was fading faster than we knew.

. . . David should take so many bows for his work both during and before my tenure at CPCSM. Though change within the Church has stalled in recent years, (to David's enormous frustration!) it is coming on steady as a freight train in America at large. David has been an undeniable part of that. The Safe Schools Initiative (in addition to all of the other initiatives David helped launch) extended far beyond the Catholic school doors, and helped lay the tracks for the engines of societal change. . . .

– Mary Lynn Murphy
"Remembering David McCaffrey"
The Progressive Catholic Voice
July 12, 2011

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Sad News
"I Have Never Felt Closer to Anyone in My Entire Life Than to David" (David's partner Michael eulogizes his husband of 13-and-a-half years.)
God is in the Roses . . . (Photos and commentary from David's funeral Mass.)
Out and About – July 2011
CPCSM Co-founder Responds to "Not Catholic" Assertion
History Matters
Far from "Innocuous" (David's 2008 response to Stephen’s Heaney’s defense of Coadjutor Archbishop Nienstedt’s “innocuous” statements on homosexuality.)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 1)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 2)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 3)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 4)
How Times Have Changed
For the Record


Journey into Love said...

Dear Michael,
Thank you for sharing. Especially about how you all created sacred time and space to honor the memory of your friend. So many times we are all in such a hurry we forget to do this. Creating these moments are what keeps all of using doing the work which we must recognize as a spiritual work indeed. Blessings to you, and to all of those who are remembering David.
Robin Mavis

Joseph White said...

That year has gone so fast.