Letters from Antioch, the story of Whit Gottconfer

Each year Salvador’s parents went to Sacramento for the celebration of Easter. When Salvador was twelve years old, they went to celebrate Easter Mass in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament according their festival custom.

Whit Gottconfer grew up a bullish young man

The Monday after Easter ended and they were returning home. Salvador remained behind in the capital, but his parents were not aware of this. They thought he went aboard another bus to Sacramento. They traveled a full day north and looked for him among their relatives and friends. They asked strangers on the bus about their son.

This is how it is. We should learn about The Mighty Savior from our relatives and friends in our faith communities. We should not be afraid to learn from those we do not know. They may not be experts about our Catholic and Christian faiths, but they are experts on the pain and feelings of other people. They are also experts on the workings of the Mighty Savior’s world. They have much to teach us.

When Salvador’s parents did not find him, they returned to the capital, looked for him there.

After three days, it was Wednesday; they decided to attend the Wednesday mass. Bee and Joseph found Salvador in the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Salvador sat in the pews at the front of the church, debating with a large group of men, some dressed in the Jesuit black, and some in the Franciscan brown. Two men stood at the center of the room. They were both tall and robust though advanced in years.

One was in the Jesuit black. On his lapel was the name badge proclaiming, “I am Father PraeNomen Meus.”[1]At his side was an I-pod.

This connected him to the internet and to the Excel and Access software; he viewed as so very important. The other man was in the Franciscan brown. On his lapel also sat his name, Father Laud.[2] When these men asked Salvador questions, the understanding of his answers astounded them.

When his parents found him, they were upset. His mother told him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.”

Salvador brashly said, “Why were you looking for me? Don’t you know that I must be in my Pop’s house?”

This upset his parents greatly.

When they returned home to Sacramento, he went with them, and assumed stood under the care of his parents. His mother kept all these things in her heart while Salvador advanced in mental skill, physical skill, and age. The Mighty One watched as his kindness increased.

At this time, in the city of Chicago, at Mt. Zion Hospital another child exited the womb of his mother. The mother, Mourning Dove, traced her ancestry from the Lakota, though her family and the family of her husband have lived in the Irish district of Chicago for over a hundred and fifty years. Mourning Dove named her child, Whit Gottconfer.

In his early life, Whit Gottconfer was a normal child. There was a major building project down the road when Whit Gottconfer was four. A major influx of Lakota moved into town and the city of Chicago was again the home of new refugees and transplants from elsewhere in the world. As is usually the case, the more established families in town refused to welcome these new transplants.

The first move of Lakota to Chicago was when Chicago was just a small town. Lewis and Clark had just gone through some 30 years before and Chicago was a new town in the west. Thinking the Crooked Knives were an OK people, the Lakota decided to join them in their new city. Because the Lakota lived in the city when the surrounding area became a state, this influx became U.S. citizens when Illinois became a state.

Later, in 1855 another group of Lakota moved from the area of what is now Omaha to Canada. These later moved back to the United States and settled in Chicago, in the neighborhood of a child named Whit Gottconfer.[3]Because this second group moved from Canada in the 1960’s, they are not U.S. citizens.

A hundred moons came and went. With them eight planting seasons, also came and went in the Irish section of the great city of Chicago. There is a young man of eight years old. He dressed in a shirt of the Irish plaid. His slacks are gray and he wore dress shoes. In his hand was his homework for the evening, the Baltimore Catechism I.

He told a friend, “I will be studying hard tonight. Mom is mad because I missed that question today.”

His name was Whit Gottconfer.[4]

Whit Gottconfer relived the question in his mind. A nun in habit stood with a ruler in front of him and asked, “What is the answer to question 50?”

Whit Gottconfer replied, “The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merit of her Divine Son, was preserved free from the guilt of original sin.”

His sister Joann laughed, “Yep, you forgot, “And this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception. You are going to get it on the knuckles tonight.”

Whit Gottconfer also had his other studies, which he carried in his book-bag. There was Phonics, American Heritage, Arithmetic, Spelling and Grammar, Christian Art and Music. Whit Gottconfer played the piano. This way he learned all there was to know about music theory.

Some six-spring seasons came and went, and Whit Gottconfer was twelve. His parents filled his room with an adult bed made from oak, with mahogany desk and dresser. On his bookcase sat such works as: Song at the Scaffold, Ballad of the White Horse, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Scarlet Letter, Notes for The Scarlet Letter, and The Screw tape Letters.

He sat at the kitchen table of his Victorian Home pondering the writings of Aristotle, the Ethics, and Politics.

In the living room, there was an argument between his older sister Joann and Anthony, and their very ethnic, conservative father, “What do you mean you are moving in with your friend Debbie? You are not married yet and no daughter of mine is going to disgrace the family by doing such a thing.”

Joann argued back, “Dad, you live in the past.”

She opened the door, stomped out, and slammed the door as she left.

Anthony yelled at his wife Sandy, “We have to do something to protect our boy, or he will go the wrong route too.”

Sandy agreed, “You are most certainly right Tony. They gave up on good teaching with Vatican II and now teach all that crazy stuff. I know the Bishop over in Sacramento. He runs an academy that tries to teach things the right way. His name is Bishop Allen Kerry-Air and his academy, is the one he took over from his father, Dr. Liston, ‘New Beginnings.”

Sharon, Whit’s oldest sister added, “When I get older, I want to send any children I have there too.”

The day Whit Gottconfer turned fourteen, he was on a bus to Sacramento. This is how Whit Gottconfer began his life.

[1] This refers to Rabbi Shammai who was almost certainly in the temple that day. He headed a rabbinic school much like the Jesuits, very academic. Rabbi Shammai was an engineer and thought like one.

[2] This refers to Rabbi Hillel, the Jewish St. Francis. It might be better to refer to St. Francis as the Italian Hillel as Hillel came first. These two men and Rabbi Gamaliel are three of the biggest thinkers in Rabbinic Judaism to this day. Whenever rabbis find a conflict of opinion between these three and any other rabbinic thinkers through the ages, the opinion of these three taanim, trumps all others.

[3] The comparable events for the time of St. Paul are a friendly move of Jews in about the year 177 B.C.E and a forced migration of Jews in 4 C.E. This is the same town where the last great battle of Galilee fought in 68 A.D. was fought, in Gush Chalah, now part of the Golan Heights.

[4] This is St. Paul as a young child.


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