Saturday, October 22, 2016


We hear about greatness these days. What is it? Is greatness success? Overcoming other nations? Beating the opponent? Is greatness full of virtue, inner strengths? Is it integrity, accountability, thinking and engaging the common good? Greatness is a good thing, no? It is a relative term, isn't it? Greatness is comparative like justice. It is. It's like doing the Creator's justice as the common Word has carried God's way, truth, and life down through the ages. The only problem it seems to me is that we keep thinking this culture has to reconstruct everything, including God's created creatures, humans, and more!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tony Conti (Helinski)

"All for the glory of God." That's what Anthony Helinski who changed his legal name to Conti, wants on his epitaph. After over three months in Angela Hospice in Livonia, Michigan, Tony died Sunday, October 9th at about 2:10 pm. "Prefer nothing to the love of Christ," was his favored quotation while we were classmates at Saint Mary's College, Orchard Lake, MI. Tony savored 'Snoopy' and 'Peanuts,' and, Simon and Garfunkel's, "I Am A Rock!" He did. That was in 1967-71 when the Pittsburgh, PA., native, Tony, drove up Heron Hill in his home steel state of the sports' teams of Steelers and Pirates. The stick-shift automobile began to roll backwards down that hill. My, my.... We safely descended and made our way up once more on to his childhood home, and more. Tony relished showing me around. We worked together on the Orchard Lake Schools' 1971 Eagle Yearbook. Journalism was our joy...and, writing...and putting together letters, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. We composed. We prayed. We learned Polish, Greek, Latin, and English. Aiming toward ordination as pastors was a thrilling adventure. We arrived to be ordained deacons and clergy in 1976. Lots has happened...broken bridges mended and morphed, and more, praise God! Memories of Tony. He would have turned 68 on October 16th. Brain tumors beat his indomitable spirit him as he battled the cancerous sells for months. Tony enjoyed writing, reading, smoking, drinking coffee, and residing in Detroit at 6444 Townsend Street, 48213 ever since I introduced him to Connie and Chuck Conti while we were at Saint John's Seminary, Plymouth, MI., in formation to be ordained Catholic pastors. Tony earned degrees for counseling also, later, while serving at multiple parishes, including, Saint Thomas the Apostle, Detroit, Saint Joseph, Monroe, MI., Sacred Heart, Dearborn, and Saint Ignatius, also in Detroit. Efforts to contact Tony Helinski's family were made. Tony's birth father was to have 'burnt' a family member, admitted Tony once more as his lips pressed a Smoker's Choice cigarette when we sat on the patio at the hospice. Tony told his story. He also reconciled estranged rapport. He articulated well his brain anatomy, and more. Tony told of his demise. He seemed to accept his fate. Weeks ago, when he was still able to stand and consciously decide, we talked about going to Kevan's Grille near Twelve Mile Road and Hayes, in Warren, MI. Nurses OKed our 'night trip' and, I did the necessary paper work to please attorneys . . . and . . . He was buried this past Monday near Charles and Concetta Conti. His temple of the Holy Spirit rests in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Detroit, MI., a site near and dear to my family and me. Our own parents, and PFC Lukas Ventline, among other relatives, are buried there. The loop of loss needs closing. Grieving is like that. A hole in one's heart and soul, or not, the process of grieving, then mourning, mounts for a year or more. It does. Eternal + rest unto Tony, O Lord, and, let perpetual light shine upon him. Lawrence Ventline 25959 Waterway Drive Harrison Twp., MI. 48045

Yemen, Hamtramck, MI., U.S.A., North American Continent

It is in ruin. Yemen is under siege. This ancient land bombarded by Saudi airstrike, note news reports. Yemen citizens reside in Hamtramck, and,Dearborn, Michigan, among other cities across our beloved United States. The wars in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Israel, also, stir feelings that sit restlessly within me. Pictures of innocent and bloodied and bombed children bother me no end. They do. Who will stand up against the aggressors? Who will walk with the metropolitan-Detroit area Yemen people? The victims in Syria? Iraq? Who will talk and negotiate 'safe air space' for the children? Who? Who will walk with residents of metropolitan Detroit, MI., Focus:HOPE, a civil rights and human services icon for over fifty years, founded by the late Father William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis, for example? Thousands walked in my Motown Sunday at the same time thousands walked in Dearborn, MI., and, pressed for Hussan, for justice, against oppressors? Who? Who will stand with the immigrant citizens in Hamtramck, MI., for example, and, urge safety and security in this 2.2 square-mile town where parents asked me during the Labor Day parade: "Why do our children have to breathe in the marijuana smoke in our neighborhood?" Why? Tell us Hamtramck City Manager Katrina Powell? Tell us Hamtramck Police Chief Anne Moise? Why do you refuse to restrict illegal 'smoke'? When I witnessed at the Hamtramck City Council, you sat passively. Why? The dignity and worth of every human person deserves security, safety, more, no? Stand up with us, Hamtramck, MI., City Council, and, make a difference in a town where parents care about the livelihood of our precious children who play, run, laugh and live as children should. Are you with us? Will you lead and enforce ordinances and laws like the Warren, MI., Mayor Jim Fouts who demands 'Fresh Air' as others and he walks or runs or plays in the streets of this ever-striving safer and securer City? Let us know, please, diverse, rich, and beautiful residents, parents and grandparents, entrepreneurs, mosques, churches, educators, Drug-Free Hamtramck Coalition, Block Clubs, and, Hamtramck, MI., City Manager and City Council? Work for us, please!