On Thursday, June 3 2021 a small gathering took place at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Seattle. Father William Treacy, who with Rabbi Levine founded Camp Brotherhood and the Treacy Levine Center, held a special Mass.

Father Treacy had turned 102 years old over the previous weekend, and this small, limited attendance Mass (due to COVID), was held to honor his service at St. Anne’s years ago and his pioneering work in interfaith. Several of the priests Father Treacy has influenced were in attendance and many served with him during the service. One of them came from Florida! Several Board members from Paths to Understanding also attended, Jeff and Sue Renner, Gregg and Lea Davidson, and I was also pleased be invited. Long-time friends of Father Treacy Pam and Steve Barden helped organize the event, and did a great job!

What struck me most about the Mass, was Father Treacy’s sermon. He encouraged people

  • to reach out and see the human in their neighbors
  • communities of faith to develop partnerships with those around them
  • for all of us to see the challenges of the last year as a way to have more compassion for each other.

This last point is very important. Quite often we react to personal or group pain or vulnerability by turning away from our neighbor, seeing them only as competitors. In doing so, we forget two things:

  • All humans and human communities are vulnerable
  • All humans and human communities rely on mutual cooperation

Instead of turning inward, our own pain and vulnerability can be a doorway for compassion with those who suffer with us.

This turn toward our neighbor is why I am working for Paths to Understanding. Wisdom traditions across the globe encourage this turn toward our neighbor, this response of compassion for those around us. PTU works to encourage and support our turning to each other in compassion and mutual cooperation for the common good.

We live in a moment in which many are responding to our mutual vulnerability by turning inward and away from each other. This move way from each other could lead to the degradation of our democracy and could lessen our future peace.

Rabbi Levine and Father Treacy and protestant pastors turned toward each other in the Challenge Program. PTU is continuing this in a new era by through media, events, online courses, and walking with communities of wisdom as they move toward each other. This is why my spouse, Sheryl, and I give $300 each month to PTU. I invite you to join us in contributing, in partnering and inviting us to work with your community of wisdom.

At 102 years old, Father Treacy also sees the danger of turning away out of our pain and vulnerability. He also sees the possibilities that emerge when we instead choose the path to understanding each other as a beautiful part of the human family.