Friday, June 22, 2018


Over the main entrance of the old church is the original version of the parish coat of arms.  Heraldry is of serious matter and, according to James-Charles Noonan’s book, “The Church Visible,” “it is a phenomenon very much a part of the legal and social structures of practically every continent on earth. . . Heraldry is not independent of the law and is, in fact, strictly governed by international custom and state law. . . Ecclesiastical heraldry is not determined by heraldic considerations alone but also by doctrinal, liturgical, and canonical factors.”

The heraldry of St. Sebastian has an “escutcheon” or shield “per pale” or divided down the center.  “In sinister” or to the left as you view the arms are seven crossletes of “vert” (or green) on an “or” (or gold) field.  The crosses are an obvious reference to Christianity and that there are seven of them points to one of the main purposes of the parish which is to celebrate the seven sacraments.

“In dexter” or to the right, we have three upward pointing arrows in “or” on a “vert” field.  The three arrows have a double meaning.  The first is in reference to the Trinity as there are three of them pointing to heaven.  The second concerns the story of our patron, St. Sebastian, who is most famously pictured riddled with arrows when the emperor Diocletian attempted to have him put to death for being a Christian.

At some point in the 1950s, the coat of arms went through a redesign.  A chief was added with arrow like lines pointing toward the center.  Though the original coat of arms appears on the convent which was completed in 1951, this new version made its appearance on the Recreation Center (later to be known as Byrider Hall) in 1953.  There is a little debate concerning what these  lines mean.  Some think that they are the chevrons of rank of someone serving in the armed forces and so attribute them to St. Sebastian's status as a high ranking officer in the Praetorian Guard.  But this would be completely anachronistic.  It is more likely a highly symbolic depiction of palm branches which would be the Church’s symbol of triumph over death for her martyrs.  This version of the coat of arms continued to be employed through the construction of the “new” church as can be seen on the building, the doors, and the pews.  

Around the year 2009, finding many versions of the coat of arms in use at the parish, from what was found on the buildings, various letterheads, uniforms, signs, and other such uses, a concerted effort was made to focus on just one version of the arms and standardize the colors, fonts, and uses of the arms across the entire parish.  Though remnants of various versions may still be found, all new employments of the arms have since been strictly regulated.  This final version returns to the original version and has removed instruments of war such as helmets and pikes, which are strictly forbidden in ecclesiastical heraldry.  

Thursday, June 21, 2018


I am fascinated by the idea that we are so complicated as human beings that we do not even really know what it is we believe.  A priest I highly respect and who has been quoted on these pages extensively brushes off many if not most persons who call themselves atheists with the phrase, “They are not intelligent enough to be atheists.”  What he means by this is that those who fit into this particular category do not lead a life in keeping with this self proclaimed position with the (relatively) sole manifestation being that they do not go to church or pray.  Instead of living a new order of an atheistic world, they live a weak-tea version of poor Christianity.

One time I met a true atheist.  He was about the only guy I ever met who truly believed everything was just happenstance of a random universe meaning nothing.  He was not depressed but the thought of this made him sad.  Even the conversation we had about it he labeled as pointless.  “If there is no God, then even this conversation means nothing beyond what little pleasure it may bring me.”  I respect that guy.

Jordan Peterson makes the suggestion that if you really want to know what you believe, don’t take the words that come out of your mouth at face value.  There is a lot going with these words.  They are not pure distillations of our hard held convictions.  Our words will be influenced by the person to whom we are speaking, by the community by whom we have been formed, by the point we wish to make, and a million other little factors that will form the tide flowing over our tongue.

Rather, says Mr. Peterson, if you really want to know what you believe, examine how you have acted in the past; how you have responded to the world and its surprises.  Despite vows of great love, did you stick it out during bad times and sickness?  Despite saying you trust in God no matter what, did you remain calm during times of turmoil?  Despite saying that you are an atheist, do you mindlessly follow the Christian/Judeo cultural patterns?  Despite thinking that you are a worthless sinner, do you keep coming back to confession?

Be careful to engage in contemplation. You may discover what you really believe. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER T MAY BE FOUND:  "A child will have many friends, but only tow parents - if that - and parents are more, not less, than friends."  from Jordan Peterson's, "12 Rules for Life"

QUOTE II:  "Parents are the arbiters of society.  They teach children how to behave so that other people will be able to interact meaningfully and productively with them."  same source.

QUOTE III: ". . . with his wife they will be the first teachers of the children in the ways of faith.  May they also be the best of teachers bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do through Christ Jesus our Lord."  from the Liturgy of Baptism


Blimp sighting over West Akron:
P. V. sent in THIS article about how the Dominicans are bringing back orthodoxy to academia.  

For today's video you must go HERE.  It is a 50 minute reflection on Chesterton and where are on his canonization process.  Apparently we are nearing the end of the investigation process that would lead to officially opening his cause.

Friday, June 15, 2018



Mull Avenue probably received its name from the Mull family who owned a farm in the area.  The original house, which still stands, is located at 73 Mull Avenue.  Once, when the house was for sale, an advertisement gave this description:

“Fabulous find for the Unique buyer! Enjoy the prestige and romance that comes with a home built nearly two centuries ago. Located close to Highland Square, this Ohio historical Landmark built in 1846 by Charles Mull, is one of the first Western Reserve Style homes in Ohio under the Connecticut Land Grant. Beam & Peg construction, featuring incredible wide plank, tongue & grooved, American Chestnut flooring. 44 windows allow maximum light from dawn to dusk, perfect for an artist or musician. Heritage landscaping with a fenced back yard, treed & perfect for bird watching, raised garden beds w/ stone walls. All systems have been upgraded while the home retains its historical integrity. 3Bdrs., 2ba's, overly spacious Liv Rm, dining room, charming study & back staircase off kitchen. Situated on a very private, quiet street, everything about this gentle gracious homestead whispers Welcome Home. An absolute hidden treasure. Carriage could fit 1-2 cars. History lover's delight.”

Originally Mull Avenue was probably a short, dirt road until it was upgraded and lengthened. The earliest recording of Mull Avenue in the city records was in 1905 - 1906 record book at which time it started at West Market Street and extended to one block west of Rose. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018


At Theology on Tap last night the question was asked if we should refer to someone by their preferred pronoun even if it doesn’t match their body’s birth sex.  Another person made the comment that it sounded like the predicament that Jordan Peterson found himself in.

It isn’t actually.  The Jordan Peterson debate had to do with state mandated compelled speech in Canada (a truly scary thing - George Orwellian) and persons with gender issues unfortunately got caught in the middle.  Therefor his case does not answer the above question at all.

To get to the root of the answer one must ask the question, “What is your purpose and aim?”  For most of us, particularly outside of academia and politics, a Catholic is called to be an intentional disciple.  That being the case, it is our aim to bring people to Christ in the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church.  Can we woo anyone to the Church by refusing to call them by the identity markers that they pick out for themselves?  Instead being able to explore grander topics, (eventually getting back to gender issues) it would always be about the mean Catholic that refused to call me “she.”  The conversation will be dead in the water.

As one of my spiritual director’s said, “If a person knows that you love them, you can tell them anything.”  Starting with “don’t” and “no” no matter how correct ends the game before it even begins.  This does NOT mean compromising the faith.  It does mean presenting it over a long enough period of time in which it can be heard.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "It is therefor desirable for religions to have a dogmatic element.  What good is a value system that does not provide a stable structure?  What good is a value system that does not point the way to a higher order?"  from Jordan Peterson's, "12 Rules for Life."

QUOTE II:  "You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act."  same source


John Kastelic was inspired by the restoration project at St. Sebastian to write a song.  It has had over 3K views since Monday.  Listen to it HERE.

P.V. sent in THIS revealing story about the "Sex and the City."

She also sent in THIS STORY about the danger in being too Catholic.

Deacon S. sent in THIS link to a new blog called Veronica's Veil.  

Here is some work coming along at St. Sebastian:

This came in:  Dear Chesterton Society Members across the world!

I am a young Polish scholar from Cracow working on G.K. Chesterton. Within last years I’ve published some books on him, including two French translations I’ve been directing for well known French publishers.
Today I am pleased to announce my first publication in English language, “Protestantism As Seen by G.K. Chesterton”, a synthesis of GKC's thought, written at the occasion of the five hundred years anniversary of the Reformation. Perhaps you will find an interest to read it. If so, I will be grateful for your remarks which will surely contribute to improve my next works on Gilbert Chesterton.
Find out more HERE.
M.W. sent in this commencement speech that is well worth the listen:

Friday, June 8, 2018


The "Saint Sebastian Chalice” was commissioned by the founding pastor Msgr. Zwisler.  He requested that the ladies of the parish who had diamond jewelry that they were no longer wearing donate the diamonds to the parish to be incorporated into a chalice.  The diamonds range from incredibly small to one of respectable size.  (I wouldn't be too excited about diamonds however - like a car it is amazing how quickly they lose their value once they leave the jewelry shop.  As one lady put it, "Call off an engagement and see how much you can get back for that diamond!”) 

Just below the cup there is a ring of 9 diamonds.  At the node there is a Chi Rho made up of 16 diamonds.  Around the node is a ring of 16 diamonds.  Around the base is another ring of 31 diamonds.  There is a circle of diamonds around a "Tau" or Greek letter "T" that represents the Cross.  The circle has 12 diamonds in it and the Tau has 3 diamonds in it.  Also in the Tau are 3 blue sapphires and two tiny pearls.  This makes a total of 87 diamonds, 3 sapphires, and two pearls.  Around the base of the chalice is the inscription, "Sancte Sebastiane ora pro nobis" or "Saint Sebastian pray for us." 

Mr. Nick Ciriello tells how one day, soon after the chalice was finished, he came across Monsignor carrying a burlap sack.  “Come with me,” he said to the young server.  “Do you want to see what is inside the sack?” 

“Sure,” he replied.

With that he pulled out the chalice.  “I keep it in that bag,” he said.  “If anybody came by to rob us, the last place they’d look for something expensive and beautiful is in an old burlap bag!”

Thursday, June 7, 2018


This past week this chalice was given to St. Sebastian Parish.  A phone call from the grand nephew of our founding pastor, Monsignor Hilary Zwisler, called to say that the family had this chalice in their possession and now wished to reunite it with the parish.  

The chalice was donated to the parish in 1929 by Cletus G. Roetzel.  Mr. Roetzel was a lawyer in Akron and was a decorated Knight in the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Pius XII, 1949. He served with Field Artillery of the United States Army in World War I, was a member of the American, Ohio and Akron (past president) bar associations, Akron Law library association, Catholic Service League (trustee, past president), American Legion, Izaak Walton League and a Phi Delta Theta.

The chalice, with its Celtic cross, has this inscribed around the bottom of the base; “DONATED TO ST. SEBASTIAN CHURCH BY CLETUS G. ROETZEL IN HONOR OF HIS PARENTS JOHN T AND MARY ROETZEL CHRISTMAS 1929.”

The grandnephew, Mr. Bernard George, had no idea that the parish was about to celebrate it’s 90th anniversary when he called about giving the chalice to the parish, but it made the timing so much more special.  I assured him that we would give the grand piece a mighty shining up and use it in a special way this coming year.  

Interestingly enough it came with this other little utensil pictured here with a common writing pen next to it in order to give you an idea of scale.  (Try guessing what it is before going on!)  I have never seen nor heard of such a thing before.  It seemed (to us) obviously liturgical (notice the grape and leave design on the handle) and we spent some time trying to figure out what it was.

There were a number of guesses of things with which we were somewhat familiar; items from Eastern Rite Catholics or possibly for adding salt to holy water for the old order of blessing but none of these seemed quite right.  (Why grapes if it for salt and water?)  Finally, the every handy internet came to the rescue and named a liturgical utensil of which I never heard (not an easy thing to do.)  It is called a scrupulosity spoon.  For the priest who was worried about adding too much water to the wine at Mass and thereby making it invalid, or if he had difficulties with alcohol and used very little wine and wanted to make sure that he mixed in just a very small drop of water, he could stick this tiny ladle into the water cruet and abstract that perfect amount of water.

Mom was right: You learn something new every day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "What you aim at determines what you see."  from Jordan Peterson's, "12 Rules for Life"

QUOTE II:  "Even older that ethics, however, is religion.  Religion concerns itself not with (mere) right and wrong but with good and evil themselves - with the archetypes of right and wrong.  Religion concerns itself with domain of value, ultimate value.  That is not the scientific domain, It's not the territory of empirical description.  The people who wrote and edited the Bible for example, weren't scientists, even if they had wanted to be.  The viewpoint, methods and practices of science hadn't been formulated when the Bible was written.
        "Religion is instead about proper behavior.  It's about what Plato called 'the Good.'"  same source


Restoration update:  The confessionals are getting their freshening up:

New countertops in the sacristy!  Not more old formica with cracks nailed down in place!
Corpus Christi procession with pictures by K. S.

 I just like this.
It's the season for Vacation Bible School!

Friday, June 1, 2018


Fundraising has been part of the parish life from the very beginning.  The first fundraising activities were begun by the Sanctuary Society and consisted of a number of card parties.  Bridge was the game of the parish and Bridge Flights continue until this day.  The funds provided to the parish from the bridge flights in 2015 were used to commission an icon of St. Sebastian to be revealed at the 90th anniversary of the parish.  A new order of young Byzantine nuns located within the Diocese of Cleveland rely on these commissions if icons to help sustain themselves.

The first bridge party and dance was held on 16 October, 1928, in the Knights of Columbus Auditorium, the Knights of Columbus being another organization that had greatly helped in the founding of the parish.  The evening was a great success and was followed by a number of Bridge Parties in the homes of members of the Society.  

A couple of noteworthy parties include one thrown by Mrs. Guy Grimsby and Mrs. O. W. Burgess who were not members of the parish but desired to assist the fledgling new Catholic community.  The event was held at the Liedertafel Hall.  Another pays tribute to the idea that ecumenism is not a new idea with Vatican II.  On April 25th, a party sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. William E. Cunningham was had filling “every available inch” of the Knights of Columbus Hall.  It was said that it “drew friends from every part of the city, Catholic and non-Catholic” alike.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


It is not unusual for someone to be mad at God because it appears as though He is not answering their prayers.  Usually this means that God is not following our directions properly.  “If He loved me, He would do as I request because - well - it’s really what I want.”

And it is interesting to ponder if God thinks the same thing.  “I’ve told them exactly what I want.  Why don’t they listen?”  But the difference is that God doesn’t get mad and He will be there tomorrow listening just as intently as He did the day before and hoping we will listen just as attentively.  

Friday, May 25, 2018


One of the hallmarks of Fr. Byrider’s tenure as pastor was his thoughtfulness and kindness.  Known to his intimates as “Chuck,” there was an expression bandied about amongst the priests of the diocese about the well thought of pastor.  Fr. Byrider made it a habit to keep an eye out in the news for any mention of one of his brother priests.  If he spotted a story about you, you would receive a congratulatory note in the mail from him.  This was known as “getting Chucked.”

He had great respect for his predecessor.  At one point, Father Byrider had decided to have some trees removed from the property.  Monsignor seeing the trucks stormed out of the rectory and told the tree cutters to get off of the property.  Being informed of the incident, Father Byrider allowed the trees to remain rather than upset the man for whom he had so much respect. 

Another example of his great love for priests in general, Father Byrider did not insist on his right to take over the pastor’s suite at the St. Sebastian rectory.  Instead, he let Monsignor finish out his stay there while he took rooms in the west wing originally constructed for Monsignor’s sister and there he stayed eventually even allowing his parochial vicars to take the “good room” after Monsignor had finally  passed on to his great reward.

Thus closes the first period of the history of the parish.  The dedication and foresight of its people, religious, and clergy, especially that of founding pastor still have a profound effect on its people today who carry on the proud work of Christ in the hopes of passing on a strong faith and powerful parish for generations yet to come to West Akron.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


At the last Theology on the Rocks, Fr. Kevin Klonowski gave a talk on how to encourage adult children back to a practice of the faith.  The venue was packed and people had to be turned away.  We will are now working on rescheduling the talk so that it might reach more people.  Keep up to date on the schedule of talks HERE.

That being said, Father gave his collection of "5 DON'Ts and 10 DOs" in the practice of encouraging your adult children back to the practice of the faith.  Someone wrote us a note on the comment cards and asked if these 15 points could be published on Adam's Ale.  Yes they can and here they are with some notes written by me since his outline did not contain the details that he shared!  Thank you Fr. K for sending me your outline.


1. Complain.
Who wants to belong to any organization or do any activity that tends to produce complainers?  And this topic is just further evidence that you do not like me for who I am.  This just divides. 
2. Nag.
When has nagging inspired anybody to do the good any further than to quiet the nagger?  Nagging does not transform.  It pushes, it does not lead, and when the pushing is done the momentum stops.
3. Yell or Disown.
When was the last time someone yelled at you and you thought, "Hey!  They are right!  They are only yelling at me and disowning me for my own good!  What a fool I have been!  I can't wait to turn into an exact copy of the person who is attacking me like this!"
4. Grow Discouraged
God works on his own schedule, not yours.  Never give up hope!  St. Monica was persistent in her hope for years and years.  My own Father did not come back to the faith until practically on his death bed.  But he did  Always have hope.
5. Underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit within you.
As Bishop Nelson says, "Never underestimate the Holy Spirit working in you, through you, and in spite of you.  God's will will prevail. 

THE 10 DOs

1. Become a disciple.
You can't give what you don't have.  If you want your kids to follow your example, give them something to imitate. 
2. Learn, know, and be able to articulate the story of our salvation history.
You never know when someone you love will be interested in knowing more.  The door may open for just a minute.  What will you say?
3. Promote the pursuit of truth.
There are three ways to God: through goodness, through beauty, and through truth.  If you children are seeking truth in some way, promote the effort in them and encourage them to dig deeper even if the subject is not directly that of faith because God is truth and the seeking of Truth can lead one to God.
4. Pray for all of you loved ones who have fallen away.
Pray is powerful.  Always remember that and employ it whenever the thought comes!  If you are washing dishes and think of your kids, don't plan on praying - pray RIGHT THEN.
5. Promote vocation to the priestly and religious life.
Pray that there will be more vocations to help aid the life of the church.
6. Support campus efforts for evangelization.
Campus life is often the first time young folks are away from positive influences in the practice of the faith.  They may even be more greatly challenged to abandon it (even in our Catholic Universities.)  Promote organizations that build up the faith on our campuses.
7. Encourage beauty.
Fr. Benedice Groeschel often said that "Ultimately beauty will save us."  Of the three transcendentals, beauty is the most difficult to refute.  God is Beauty itself.  Appreciation of beauty is appreciation of God whether one realizes it or not.  Promote beauty in your parish!
8. Put faith into action.
Our faith should lead us to pray but also to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend to the sick, visit the lonely etc.  Let it be shown that the practice of your faith makes for a better world.
9. Plan for you death.
Let you last act be in the embrace of the Church and her sacraments.  Perhaps seeing this, perhaps someone involved with your funeral may be able to touch something in your son or daughter.   This may be first time in a long time they have met a priest or been in church.  Who knows what God can do?
10. Love your children and will their good.
God is love.  Be the person to your child that you hope is their impression of God.  "I want to be like my parents who loved so much and the inspiration of their love was their Catholic faith."

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  "Maybe you're a handy-man's dream, a real fixer-upper.  How can you start your renovations without being demoralized, even crushed, by your internal critic's lengthy and painful report of your inadequacies?  Here's a hint.  The future is like the past.  But the past is fixed, but the future - to could be better.  It could better, some precise amount - the amount that can be achieved, perhaps, in a day, with some minimal engagement."  from Jordan Peterson's, "12 Rules for Life"


Mark Rosenberger & S. D. sent this in:  Hi all!  We won a national Gabriel Award!!!!!!!
The Catholic Press Association presents the Gabriel Award each year.  It is the largest Catholic communicators’ award program in North America, judging over 2600 entries annually from journalists, book authors, broadcasters and students. This prestigious award recognizes the best in artistic, creative, and inspirational media productions that entertain and enrich with a real vision of humanity and life.
Okay, so… what won? 
Back in January of 2017 Carrie Wise did a story about 83 year old Mother Mary Thomas who became a cloistered nun more than 50 years ago.  What is different about Mother Mary Thomas is that she paints murals… big, beautiful murals. 
Congratulations to Carrie, the ideastream Arts and Culture Unit and everyone who had a part in bringing this great story to audiences here and everywhere! 

Some of Mother's painting are at St. Sebastian.  Also, yours truly appears in this documentary.  ALSO this documentary is final three contender for a local Emmy!  If you have not seen it, you may see it HERE.

Deacon Stavarz sent THIS in concerning Avila Institute.

Here's some renovation updates.  The ORGAN IS BEING REINSTALLED!
 The removal of the front doors has begun.
 The saints are lining up for their makeovers.
 St. Francis' toe and his sparrow's tail has been replaced.
 And work continues on the shield.

Good news bad news:  The good news is that last night Theology on the Rocks concerning how to  your encourage your adult children to practice the faith had an OUTSTANDING talk by Fr. Kevin Klonowski.  The bad news is that it was so needed.  The venue was too packed.  We will reschedule his talk for a second time for those who were not able to get in.  Keep an eye out.  Also, we are speaking with the restaurant about the food shortage.  (They were understaffed that night.)  

This video was sent in by M. W.  Could you imagine if he were a politician in the United States?