View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Former Father P. David Finks, 1930-2009

I caught in the obituaries today that P. David Finks - the former Father Finks of Rochester - died June 10 in North Carolina.

Finks was a priest of this diocese from 1956 until he resigned from the priesthood in 1973 and later married.

Under Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1960s - when Sheen was Bishop of Rochester and was trying to implement Vatican II with mixed results - the then Father Finks served as Vicar of Urban Ministry and executive director of the Office of Social Ministry. He worked with Saul Alinsky, the godfather of community organizing, who was in Rochester to help Rochester’s black community organize. Finks later wrote the first biography of Alinsky, The Radical Vision of Saul Alinsky.

Finks also served on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference in Washington, where he helped to create the Campaign for Human Development.

After he left the priesthood, he remained involved with various community and social service activities.

I'll have to dig out my old articles, but I vaguely remember either interviewing him or using some of Finks' previous interviews back in the mid 90s when writing my series on Bishop Sheen's time in Rochester. I didn't know him personally. Perhaps some of my readers remember him and what he was like as a person and a priest. (Please, keep it positive.)

May he rest in peace.


Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

Finks is featured prominently in the chapter on Rochester in Thomas Reeves' biography of Archbishop Sheen, America's Bishop. He played a major role in FIGHT, a civil rights group that waged a very public war on Eastman Kodak and demanded that it hire hundreds of African Americans. (Sheen, for what it's worth, seems generally oblivious to how much he alienated his flock by embracing one radical cause after another; he refused to read any mail unless it was positive. "Oh I never read it. I make it a practice to read only positive letters. My secretary screens out all the unpleasantness.") The portrait that emerges is of an impatient, hard-left radical, so it doesn't surprise me that Finks played a role in the formation of CCHD. In any event, I had wondered what happened to him. Thanks for filling us in.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

(My post isn't "positive," but I think it reflects what Reeves wrote and what Finks did, which I hope is more important.)

12:08 PM  
Blogger Tim Morrissey said...

David married Christy Bulkely and they lived in Carolina Trace, a community south of Sanford NC. They attended St Thomas Episcopal Church in Sanford. I knew them because I worked for a professional live theater in Sanford that they attended, and I also attended St. Thomas. They were patrons and sponsors of the theater. Christy died Sept 13, 2009. They both had great senses of humor and were very involved in community affairs. They did manage to fluff a few feathers, and never suffered fools very easily.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew David Finks when we both worked at USCC in the early 70's. I remember him fondly for his intelligence, wit and love of people. He was progressive in the best and truest sense of the word. We lost touch, about 1973 I believe. I'm glad to know about his life later on and saddened of course to hear of his death. A valuable human being.

2:44 PM  

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