This post is an ASL autobiography of Fr. Tom Coughlin, O.P. Miss., who became the first born-deaf priest in the United States. He started the Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf, which is in San Antonio, Texas. (http://www.dominicanmissionaries.org/) Unfortunately, I do not have the name of the English language interpreter in the video, but my source is the YouTube channel of Mr. Adam Mortel. If I have violated any copyright in sharing this post, I am happy to take it down. However, it seemed relevant to the blog. Anyone interested in Fr. Tom might also enjoy his presentation in 2003 at Gallaudet University entitled “The Art of Overcoming Obstacles to the Roman Catholic Priesthood” here: http://videocatalog.gallaudet.edu/?video=2102
Deacon Patrick, an ASL poet and actor, joined the National Theatre of the Deaf in 1967. He has taught at the National Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology. His acting skill and understanding of audience contribute to a strong, expressive delivery in preaching. Here he begins his homily with an example about a selfish customer in a mattress store who annoys the patient salesman by trying out every bed in the store. By the visual and spatial nature of ASL, good examples and and stories become what ancient rhetors called enargeia–the use of visual imagery to make the subject vividly present to the audience. In Patrick Graybill’s hands, visual enactment of an example also conveys a sense of vigor and energy. In this case, it’s the feeling of being vigorously annoyed and needing a way to accept people who are a pain in the neck with peace, even in the course of everyday hassles.