Saturday, November 15, 2014 1:55 pm: Rick Springer has taken his last breath surrounded by friends and the love and spirit sent to him by so many of his dear friends and family members in many different ways. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, he’s free at last!!!
Saturday, November 15, 2014 1 pm: Messages from around the country are pouring in to be read to Rick at his bedside. Arizona, California, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois. Those will Rick now are sure he can hear the thoughtful and loving messages for him. I’d be happy to post any of these messages on http://firethepope.com/rick-springer-update page but I’ll only do that if the sender says so. They can be posted anonymously or with a name. Thanks, all. What a community of friends!
Saturday, November 15, 2014 11 am: Rick is not conscious but can probably still hear and feel touch. He has a steady stream of visitors today that are holding his hand, and delivering word-for-word the messages that are being passed on to him. If you’d like to send your own, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 630-768-1860. I’ll forward them asap. Doctors who examined Rick this am said he is failing quickly and will most likely pass today or tomorrow. Rick is surrounded by love from all of us he shared his love with. Soon, he will be free at last.
I am also getting word that the new bishop, Blase Cupich, had a hand in the representative from the archdiocese coming to Rick’s room yesterday and reading him the file they have on him. Although that wasn’t 100% what Rick had requested, it was something and I believe it did bring him a lot of peace. When he closed his eyes last night, he knew the copy of the confidentiality agreement he had with the archdiocese that he fought so hard to get was in the chair at his bedside.
Saturday, November 15, 2014, 9 am: Doctors encourage anyone who wants to see Rick to do so as soon as they can. For address, phone, and room number you can email me at email@example.com. For those who are unable, we will do our best to communicate your messages with him. It is a sorrowful time for all of us. Rick feels the love and support and outreach and is grateful for it.
Friday, November 14, 2014: Today, the Victims’ Assistance Minister of the Chicago Archdiocese, Tom Tharayil, called Rick’s hospital room. He told Rick they were preparing his file for him to review. Once the lawyers were able to approve the filing leaving the premises, Tom would bring the file over to allow Rick to review it. This is the file the archdiocese maintains on Rick, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Tom said he hoped to have the file ready by Thursday of next week. At the same time, doctors were telling us Rick was on a fast decline and that anyone who wants to see him should do so as soon as possible.
While Rick was on the telephone with Tom, I received an email from Jan Slattery of the archdiocese. It was also sent to three other people. It read, “Good Morning, You have all expressed concern about Mr. Springer receiving his file. Tom Tharayil in Assistance Ministry is reaching out to Mr Springer at Hines. Tom is hoping to meet with Mr. Springer next week. He will have a copy of Mr. Springer’s file with him so that he can read the file again. Tom will bring the file back with him. Jan
I wrote the following to Slattery in a reply email: Jan, Thanks but Rick will not be alive next week. He is hanging on to life by a thread right now. He asked you for his file in early June. If you want to partially fulfill his wish by letting him glance at his file, Tom had better come today. Rick’s doctors have said anyone who wants to see him should come now. It’s just a shame and a tragedy you will not even give him a copy of his settlement which he already had but cannot find. What can possibly be your excuse for that? His attorney cannot find his copy. Can Tom or a messenger at the very least bring that ASAP? That would help. Please do what you can but do not delay. p.a.. Rick deserved MUCH better than this. All victims and survivors do.
Within an hour and a half, Tom Tharayil was in Rick’s room reading to him his file, page by page. Rick was awake, aware, and attentive. He was able to ask questions, raise objections, or fill in the blanks – words that hand-written notes were hard to decipher. Tom was very respectful to Rick. At one point, he asked Rick if he needed a break to which Rick shook his head. At about mid-point, the nurse came in to administer to Rick while we waited in the hall. There were seven of us standing in his room listening to the reading of his file papers which took between and hour and a half and two hours. When Tom had finished, someone asked Rick what he was feeling. “Grateful,” he said.
Rick has wanted a copy of his file since at least 2010. In June, he mailed a letter to the archdiocese requesting his file. Ten days later, he received a letter from Slattery telling him NO. In October, struggling with severe health issues and pain, he wrote another letter to the archdiocese. After Tharayil left, I told Rick he could check that off of his list and asked him if there was anything else on his to-do list. He said no. Then, after a pause and through his exhaustion, he said, “I just want to know I made a difference.” Those of us left in the room assured him he had, more than he will ever know.
Thursday, November 13, 2014: Yesterday, I republished a blog post about Rick Springer. I did because, on Sunday, Rick was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
The post is Rick’s story, as told by him and published in the book Crosses by Carmine Galasso. It also includes a more recent article written by Briana McClane. According to Rick, he picked up Briana when he was a cab driver in Chicago. Not surprisingly, Rick began evangelisizing but not in the way one might think. Rick Springer wanted to be a priest when he was a kid. He entered the seminary when he was a young teenager. He was sexually assaulted by a priest.
I met Rick ten years ago after he came to a court hearing regarding a different child-molesting priests. Since then, I have been honored to know him and consider myself one of his many, many, many friends.
Rick is one of original members of the LinkUp, a clergy abuse survivors’ group. He truly has lived tending to “the least of these”, those who are most vulnerable, most wounded, most in need of a simple but meaningful call from a friend.
For the past six months, Rick has been trying to get a copy of the file the Archdiocese has on him. After Francis Kane, an auxiliary bishop with the archdiocese told the Daily Herald they would “do anything that would help those who were abused,” Rick sent him a letter requesting a copy of his file. Kane did not respond to Rick and, instead, passed his letter on to Jan Slattery who told him he could not have a copy of his file.
Rick asked for a copy of his file for some sense of closure as he has been battling severe health issues for decades. Also, he asked for a copy of the paperwork of the settlement he had with the archdiocese decades ago on which they attached a gag order. He also asked for a statement in writing that he was released from that gag order. He wanted this not just for himself but for all other survivors who entered into a similar contract with the archdiocese.
The fight for Rick’s files – and the files of any survivor who wants a copy of their own – continues.
Rick has been too ill in the past few days to answer the many calls he is getting. But, his friends and family should know that he feels your love and support and he is grateful for it. If he ever gets to feeling better, he will answer his phone. In the meantime, you may leave a comment on this page and anyone who gets into see Rick and share some of them with him without overwhelming him. Right now, he is focused on feeling better and getting some relief.
Also, Rick has a guardian angel with him. His name is Gus and he’s been Rick’s part-time caregiver for the past two months. It was shortly after Gus started helping out Rick that some of us saw a dramatic change in Rick for the better. I’ll write more about that and try to post a video later on today.
Please feel free add a comment of message about or for Rick Springer below. Also, if you have pictures you’d like to share, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put them up on this page. Thank you.