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An inspiring portrait of a deacon from The Hartford Courant:
Earlier this month, Deacon Art Miller got himself arrested. He knelt down in the intersection of Bloomfield and Albany avenues in Hartford, one of about a dozen protesters purposefully breaking the law by blocking traffic as part of an effort to raise awareness that “black lives matter.” It wasn’t where you’d expect to find the 70-year-old director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford, a man who’s better known for preaching at Mass, leading workshops on nonviolence and Bible studies and counseling black youth. But Miller said he also seeks social change by walking in the footsteps of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Miller joined the Oct. 5 “Moral Monday” demonstration to continue a fight he began more than half a century ago in his hometown of Chicago. That was in 1963, during a street demonstration of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the only other time he went to jail in challenging racial injustice. “I’ve never wanted to look back on my life and see that I was on the wrong side of justice,” he said, back in his well-appointed office on the third floor of St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. On one wall hangs a dramatic print of a muscular, dark-skinned angel in flight, while on the other hang a dozen portraits of African American bishops and archbishops. “It was an act of civil disobedience, and it’s kind of a badge of honor,” said the Rev. Frank Matera, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Simsbury, where Miller preaches at Mass and leads a biweekly Bible study that draws 50 to 80 parishioners. “He’s a very popular deacon,” Matera said. “He makes a difference in a lot of people’s lives in a very quiet way. He’s a person who very much likes to interact with people on a one-to-one level. People seem to recognize that and come to him.”
Photo: Catholic Transcript