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Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at Raymond Helmick, SJ lecture


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CHESTNUT HILL -- The second Raymond Helmick SJ Memorial Lecture took place recently at Boston College, marking the first anniversary of Father Helmick's death.

Speaker for this event was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. BC Professor Susan Michalczyk, a member of the Raymond Helmick, SJ Memorial Committee, called the assembly to order, Rev. Michael Davidson, SJ, led the opening prayer, and Raymond Barry, Father Helmick's nephew and namesake, welcomed the audience of nearly 300 students, friends, family, and ecumenical and inter-religious colleagues of Father Helmick.

At the time of Father Helmick's death, Rev. Jackson called him, "a man of strength of character, non-negotiable dignity, with a fine, tender heart... who never stopped searching and working for peace."

At the BC lecture he added that Father Helmick was a peacemaker and bridge-builder. He once asked Father Helmick about negotiating in difficult situations and received advice that remains with him: Don't listen to the arguments, "Hear the subject and the predicate and don't take a side, just take the high ground. The righteousness of the cause is what's important."

Rev. Jackson said, "The difference between peace makers and peace keepers is listening, and Father Helmick listened."

"Father Ray had all the qualities of a good Secretary of State, but he decided to be a humble servant," he added.

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