Sunday the 28th of February the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Hundreds mourn man killed during heroic act to protect fellow passengers

The morning after police in Portland, Oregon, arrested 14 demonstrators at dueling political protests, about 800 worshippers turned out in a unified show of support for a man whose heroic act transcended division.

Ricky Best was laid to rest in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland on 5th June after a funeral Mass at a packed Christ the King Church in the suburb of Milwaukie. On hand were Christians, Muslims, Jews, peace activists and members of a motorcycle club that backs President Donald Trump.

“Many of us consider him a hero. Many of us in the church consider him a martyr,” said Mgr Richard Paperini, parish priest of Christ the King.

Best, a 53-year-old city of Portland employee, was one of three men who stepped forward to defend two teens on a Portland commuter train on 26th May. The girls, one in a Muslim headscarf and the other black, were the target of an anti-Muslim and racist verbal attack from 35-year-old Jeremy Christian.

When Best – along with 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and 21-year-old Micah Fletcher – spoke up, Christian pulled a knife and slashed at the men. Best and Namkai-Meche died and Fletcher was hospitalised. Police apprehended Christian, who has been arraigned on charges of aggravated murder.

Picture: Mgr Richard Paperini comforts Myhanh Best, wife of Ricky Best, who was killed on a Portland, Ore., commuter train on 26th May while defending two girls from an anti-Muslim racist attack. The ceremony was held on 5th June at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, following a funeral Mass for Ricky Best at Christ the King Church in Milwaukie, Ore. (CNS photo/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel).