On August 10, I attended a wake service for Capuchin Father Mike Crosby at Detroit’s St. Bonaventure Monastery. Mike had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer some months earlier and, after treatments failed, entered hospice care at St. Bonaventure’s where his brother Dan, who is also a Capuchin, could accompany him until his death on August 5.
Mike was a very good friend to FutureChurch and to me over the years. He spoke at church reform events all over the U.S., invariably attracting crowds of admirers who appreciated his high energy and his passionate love for scripture and of God’s beloved anawim—the poor and marginalized ones.
Every now and again one of us would be under pressure from “the powers that be” in our church who didn’t always appreciate our healthy challenge to the status quo. We traded notes about our individual situations and worked hard to juggle conscience alongside our love and commitment to the institutional church. Mike was a true brother to me in these times of struggle and I tried to be a good sister to him.
So it was heart-consoling to convey the love and appreciation of FutureChurch, indeed the entire reform community, at the well-attended service at which Fr. Dan Crosby presided. Many stories were told about Mike’s adventuresome, loving, and highly productive life. But Dan’s story of Mike’s decision to enter the Capuchins stuck with me. Mike, it turns out, had a rather madcap youth. So, he first considered entering an order that ministered to wayward boys (so to speak). Dan intuited that Mike was resisting a call to the Capuchins which he had himself entered several years earlier. When Mike came to visit, the 2 brothers went for a walk. Mike spoke at length about the concrete ministries of the other order before challenging Dan: “So what do the Capuchins have to offer?” Dan paused, then said simply: “Mike all the Capuchins do is the Gospel.” The Gospel. And yes, that is what Mike Crosby lived throughout his long and loving life. The Gospel. In the end, it is as simple as that. Thanks Mike!