Tuesday, January 17, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "[It is] easier to fix a bad credit rating than a bad credibility rating."  from David Mitchell's "Slade House"

QUOTE II:  "War is ends justifying the means."  same source


The Last Theology on Tap Akron, sponsored by St. John the Baptist Parish & a ministry of St. Sebastian Parish was a hit at the Winking Lizard.  The room was set for 70 and we started turning people away at 100.  (SORRY!  Next month we are to have the larger room.)  Here is a shot from the back of the room (where I was because it was S.R.O.  Unfortunately I was next to the food table.  Huge mistake.)  A great talk was given by Fr. Thomas from St. Francis de Sales Parish.

Above is the up and coming talk by Mother Theodora of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in Burton, Oh.  If all things work out, some of the sisters will be at St. Sebastian before hand to pray Byzantine evening prayer and you are all invited.  More information to follow.

Below is our next speaker!  Fr. Marty Miller - long time friend of St. Sebastian Parish.
Feeling left out because you no longer fit in to the young adult category?  Never fear and mark your calendars for Monday, February 20th when St. Sebastian will begin Theology on the Rocks (for those of us who are just plain "adults.")  More information will follow soon.

Come celebrate St. Sebastian weekend with us by attending a free, one hour concert beginning at 3:30 PM with renowned classical guitarist and teacher Stephen Aron.  Professor Aron will be performing classical guitar favorites along with newly composed pieces. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Prof. Aron play locally!  Free and open to the public.

This may be way to difficult to see but Sebastian and I ran in to a couple of fox this past Sunday in Snyder Park as we were rounding the Julie Billiart School.  The fox is the brown spot dead center of the picture.  Eventually we saw a couple of more.  Sebastian desperately wanted to go play but that didn't seem quite safe.
Here is one of my FAVORITE albums!  I highly recommend it for your next dinner party:

Monday, January 16, 2017


Last week somebody commented that my drawings are not keeping up with the times and that, "if I hadn't noticed, I now have a full beard."


But I' not entirely sure how long it will be around so I didn't want those who only know me from cartoons to be confused by the change ups in drawing.

There seems to be a definite divide among the pro-beards and the anti-beards.  There is a guy who opened a men's shop in Highland Square and he sells his own brand of beard balm.  I told him that my beard seems to be controversial.  Apparently that is a sore spot with him.  "Man!" he exclaimed, "I wish people would just let people look the way the want to look!"

Actually I wasn't complaining I was bragging.  It makes me kind of happy that people care and feel that they have a stake in it.

Generally the divide seems to be about age 45.  Under 45 people tend to really like it.  Over 45 - not so much:
In some ways, having a beard is a ministry - like having a dog.  When I walk Sebastian, people who would normally not talk to me will walk right up to me.  "Hello fella!  How are you!  You are such a good looker!"  They say that to the dog, not me.  But then they notice me and we might have a conversation.  "Oh!  Hi to you also Father.  I've been meaning to talk to a priest . . ."

It also is somewhat of an icebreaker to start a conversation with other men. . .
Growing a beard is one of the last socially acceptable, publicly masculine things to do.  The greatest men of all times have had beards.  In fact, the oldest depiction of St. Sebastian has him sporting a great white beard.  (It was much later that artists started depicting him as a very young man.)  But then there is St. Pio, St Kolbe, St. Nicholas (who you let into your house every year to fill your shoes with candy) and St. Francis.
Then there's St. Peter, and of course Jesus.  (Thanks Rocco.)  The very first pope NOT to have a beard was also the first not be named a saint.  Coincidence?  You decide.

From the "The Bearded Catholic Blog" it is pointed out that C.S. Lewis in his Screwtape Letters wrote this:

"The aim is to guide each sex away from those members of the other with whom spiritually helpful, happy, and fertile marriages are most likely. Thus we have now for many centuries triumphed over nature to the extent of making certain secondary characteristics of the male (such as the beard) disagreeable to nearly all the females - and there is more in that than you might suppose."

For these reasons, Tony Vasinda wrote an article over at the Catholic Beard Balm Co. that "All Catholic Men Eventually Grow Beards."  Read it HERE.
But for the time being, it remains somewhat controversial.  But hey, a guy can dream right?

Friday, January 13, 2017


The liturgical rubrics and books for weddings have been updated.  Some of it is rather mundane, just having a word here or there changed or added.  Some interesting things have been added.   I have found that some people love these changes and some look like a cat sulking in a tub of water.

For the next little while on Friday Potpourri we will be looking at the wedding rite.  (Ha!  I just remembered that I had a dream last night that I was getting married.  How ironic.  So I guess everybody can find some interest in this whether you are getting ready for the wedding OF your dreams or IN your dreams.)

As with all sacraments, one of the first things that needs to be done is get the ministers into the sanctuary.  So we have rubrics on how to get the priest, ministers, bride and groom, servers etc. into the church.  Paragraphs 45-47 give the FIRST, (preferred) but not only option and it looks like this:

(Hold on to your veil.)

It seems to me that the rite somewhat assumes that the bridal party arrives at the church kind of like a casket at a funeral - just in time to get things started.  Of the places with which I have been associated this is not the case.  They have been here for hours getting dressed, having pictures taken, and trying to do breathing exercises.  But imagine for a moment that we are in some quaint European town and the cars containing the wedding party pull up in front of some ancient, grand, ecclesial edifice (that most likely does not have a lobby or bride’s room - or large modern bathroom for that matter) then this first option might sound intriguing:

The priest and servers, fully vested, meet the arriving party at the doors of the church.  The party is to be “warmly greeted” and shown that the Church shares in their joy.  The procession down the aisle then begins “in the customary manner.”  What the bishops were hoping was that this would look a bit like a Sunday Mass; the ministers and wedding party going down the aisle with the presider coming at the end like Santa in the Christmas parade.  This was something I was not looking forward to telling brides.  Rome intervened however and said that the procession should take place “in the customary manner.”  This provides acres of leeway.  If you want what is most often seen in the United States with the priest standing in the sanctuary and the bride being accompanied by her father, you can still do it.

The priest, in the meantime, is instructed to do what he would normally do at the beginning of Mass, ending up at his chair.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Do you every wish/pray that a particular temptation will be taken away so that you might be free to be a better Christian/spouse/parent/friend/sibling/child . . .

You know . . . if it wasn’t for this strong desire (maybe addiction) you could be such a better man or woman for others.  It is awful!  The temptation seems to sit there at the back of your mind, waiting for a moment of quiet or the right opportunity to flare up and demand your attention.  Your love would be purer if only God would grant this one wish - perhaps it is the wish that Paul had - take this thorn from my side.

Now maybe it would be a good thing for it to go away.  Maybe you would be happier.  Maybe life would be easier.  But it does not necessarily mean that you will love better or truer.

Think of it this way:  If the person you choose to love lives in the same, safe, middle class home with you and each morning you can wake up and kiss that person on the nose and say, “I love you.”  That is nice and loving and beautiful and doesn’t cost you much.  But if that person lives in the next city over of a war torn country and in order to see that person, you had to sneak out of your nice, safe, secure, comfortable house at night where you could be perfectly comfortable and overcome fear, trepidation, and a strong instinct toward self-preservation.  Then finding that person and kissing that person on the nose and saying, “I love you,” seems a bit more meaningful..

And so it is with these terrible desires.  It is one thing to love someone when it is easy.  It is another to defy these tuggings at your thoughts, the shouting in your ears and choose the good - to love another as best you can.  They may not always understand the battleground through which you pass in order to prove your love, how easy it would be to be sucked in to the hole of self interest but that you fight your way through to your love’s door in sometimes heroic battles because that person is worth it, deserves love, and is far more valuable than any earthly desire.  That too can seem more meaningful.

For it is one thing never to be tempted and never sin for love of God, it is quite another to be bitterly tempted and choose not to sin for love of God.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Democracy is like a tambourine - not everyone can be trusted with it."  John Oliver

QUOTE II:  "The most important political office is that of private citizen."  Louis Brandeis


The WVIZ special on Mother Mary Thomas and her painting (with a guest appearance of your chief Adam's Ale editor ME) that aired on January 6th has, on the WVIZ website, had 14,000 hits so far!  You SEE THE VIDEO HERE.

Stephen Aron will be performing classical guitar favorites along with newly composed pieces. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Prof. Aron play locally at St. Sebastian Parish as part of the afternoon with an artist series sponsored by the Academy of Culture and Arts! Read more about it HERE.

Theology on Tap AKRON will open its doors tomorrow night at 7PM with Fr. Louis Thomas of St. Francis de Sales.  There is a new location however!  TOTA invites you to their new venue at the Winking Lizard Tavern in Peninsula.  Thank you Thirsty Dog for your hospitality for our first three TOTAs and also thank you to St. John the Baptist Parish, Akron for sponsoring this month's TOTA.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Despite what the retail stores may tell you or past experiences of Christmas may lead one to believe, It is STILL Christmas even if only for a few extra hours this year.  Granted, this Sunday may have normally been the last Sunday of Christmas but because of this year's slightly odd schedule and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord being bumped off Sunday so that we can celebrate the Epiphany (which was bumped off of the 6th,) we will celebrate the His Baptism on Monday, so, according to the Ordo on Monday, January 9th, "After the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Ordinary Time begins."

Volunteers stood ready to start taking the sanctuary apart and a few parishioners inquired about adopting some poinsettias.

I will admit however that it is FAR easier to take down Christmas on Sunday afternoon than on Monday afternoon.  So perhaps I cheated.  A little.  I had some friends over on Sunday who helped me disassemble some of the rectory.  Evidence of this can be seen by the trail of the Christmas tree tinsel from my office to the trash enclosure.

Even Sebastian tried to snitch on me.
I think it is awesome to color inside the lines with the liturgical calendar.  There is something magical about coming in for the First Sunday of Advent and seeing a parish church different from what it was in Ordinary Time.  There is something awe inspiring to NOT see Christmas half set up on the Fourth Sunday of Advent but to walk in on Christmas Day and have your heart say, "WOW!" at the transformation.  Equally, there are those (and I DO understand, I just don't agree) who think the poinsettias look pretty, and being just flowers, should be left up for awhile even after the Christmas season is over.  But as soon as the whistle blows ending Christmas, I try to get them out of sight in order to advertise to the community symbolically that Christmas is absolutely over now and we are in ordinary time.  

Friday, January 6, 2017


Is a priest who wears oxford shoes and uses a thurible a conservative?  Is a priest who wears sandals and uses an incense bowl a liberal?  If both options are on the Catholic playing field, does it matter?  Does it matter any differently if you are St. Patrick Cathedral or in a mud and thatch church in the missions?  Does it matter if one is a Jesuit and one is a Franciscan?  

The last paragraph that we are going to look at in this particular section (111) of the GIRM (we start something new next week) is really trying to get everybody on the same page.  It tells us that great care should be taken that the Mass is coordinated among all of the ministers as well as having some input from the parishioners with final say coming from the “rector.”  This is so that the choir director doesn’t prepare for the usual weekend Mass, the celebrant decides to move the patronal feast to the weekend, and the lector not knowing which readings to prepare.  That is why the “rector” sets the calendar, tone, and is responsible for communicating it.  

It is interesting that they use the world “rector.”  I had to research this a little bit.  It is not a term often used in the Catholic Church.  It comes from the Latin meaning “ruler.”  I think they use this term because not every parish has a pastor.  A seminary has a rector, not a pastor.  The bishop’s church (cathedral) may need a person to see to the day to day running of it as the bishop is out and about so much.  So you might have the rector of the cathedral . . .

So now, the rector has coordinated the Mass, communicated what will be happening, but another priest is going to celebrate.  Things may not go as smoothly as one might hope because the very last sentence of this last paragraph of this last section states, “However, the priest who presides at the celebration always retains the right of arranging those things that pertain to him.”

So that is terribly interesting.  What exactly does that mean?  I think that is what allowed my first parish to run both smoothly and somewhat diversely.  Mass was essentially the same from celebration to celebration though the celebrant changed.  Along with him however there may be oxfords or sandals, the Missal at the top of the corporal or off to the left, thurible or incense bowl.  Does the rector have the right to say to a celebrant, “No cassock,” or “No jeans” at Mass?  I would argue that this right does not exist (though it is possible for said rector to make said celebrant’s life miserable - and a good parochial vicar tries his best to bring about the vision a particular rector is trying to establish - but I’m just saying - and I admit to having strong preferences)  though a rector (and indeed anybody) has not only the right but the obligation to point out something that a priest is doing that is illicit or invalid.  

So if a presider likes to wear a fiddleback or a properly colored tie dye chasuble you might say to him, “I really don’t like that,” but in the long run it really doesn’t matter.  It is both valid and licit and Jesus is still fully present at the Mass.  But if he celebrates not wearing a chasuble at all or changing the words of consecration because he thinks it is truer to the Latin, then something needs to be said.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Every trap requires some cooperation from its victim.

The mouse must want the cheese.

The fish must want the worm.

A person must want a million dollars from the Nigerian Prince.

An individual must agree to answer a difficult situation with anger.

Nobody and no situation can force you in to the trap of reacting angrily.  If this was the case, then everybody would react the same way to a situation.  A person cannot make you angry.  If they push your buttons, it is at least partially you that agrees to make your buttons available.  

If someone can force you to act out angrily (as opposed to passionately,) then there is no such thing as sin.  Sin is a free act of the will.  If someone can force you to be so angry that it they that make you sin, then reality, the sin is there’s, not yours.

But that is not the case. 

When you are cut off in traffic there are a lot of important emotions at play.  “That is dangerous.  Than is rude.  That is unthoughtful.  I am worth something - my desire to get home is important too.  I’m trying to cooperate so that we can all get to where we want on time, why are you so special? . . . “  So forth and so on.  A driver can go deeply down this wormhole of thinking and end up committing an act of road rage.  I have found myself in this situation.

But it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.  One can be challenged to practice humility.  Practice patience.  Practice forgiveness.  Practice praying for one’s “enemies.”  Practice giving thanks that the person who was unthoughtful gave you the opportunity to push you to your spiritual limits so that you might grow stronger in the faith.  

This too is a possibility - not an inevitability.  

It is often difficult and, like a muscle, takes a great deal of exercise (time, practice, increasing difficulty) to make strong.  Nobody can force you to react negatively or positively  It comes down to deciding how closely you want to follow Christ and then determining to begin working on it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Which is the most genuine, authentic love - the kind that changes from day to day according to mood, or the stable, faithful kind that never goes back on itself?"  from Jacques Philippe's, "Time for God."

QUOTE II:  "There is a wound in human nature - a lack of harmony, a split between what we spontaneously crave and what we were made for, between our feelings and the Will of God to which we must be faithful, and with is our true good."  same source.


Here's the latest on Theology on Tap Akron!  See more HERE.

Check this out:  Mother Mary Thomas will be on WVIZ on January 6th at 8:30PM.  I was almost interview for this show.
 Yesterday was clergy and religious day at St. Sebastian (unplanned!)  Everyone was abuzz.
Sad but there is a kernel of truth:

Sunday, January 1, 2017


In order to understand this story, one must understand Akro/Barberian terminology.  Below is a diagram to help the uninitiated figure out what is meant by the "devil strip."
I very much like the rectory in which I live.  It was largely furnished by people giving us furniture they no longer wanted, by going to junk stores (which I enjoy), and picking up lots of things off of the devil strip.  The devil strip is a highly undervalued place to find furniture at prices that cannot be match anywhere else.

So the night before New Year's Eve, a seminarian (mentioned in last week's Monday Diary), Sebastian (the dog) and I went for our evening airing-out-the-dog-before-going-to-bed walk.  It was unseasonably warm and I suggested that we lengthen our walk a bit.  The seminarian readily agreed and we veered off into the neighborhood.

It was trash night so everybody had dutifully put out their trash cans.  But there was one house that seemed to be emptying out its contents on to the devil strip.
Sebastian found a zebra with which he has fallen in love.  There was some great stuff there but nothing that the St. Sebastian Parish Rectory needed.  But there were some cool chairs there (expertly drawn above) and so the seminarian took a picture of them and we sent it out to Fr. Pfeiffer to see if he needed such chairs and headed back to the rectory.

Here is a picture of Sebastian with his zebra in front of the fire:
A text came back from the good Reverend Father Pfeiffer that he could indeed use such chairs in his rectory and, if we wouldn't mind, would we go snag them for him.  Well of course we wouldn't mind and set off into the night to retrieve the chairs.

The whole walk there had been nobody out that night - not a car - not thief.  BUT THE VERY SECOND WE REACHED THE DEVIL STRIP WHERE THE CHAIRS WERE everybody and their mother came outside.  The neighbors pulled into their driveway.  People came by walking their dogs.  Cars drove by.  A police cruiser pulls over near by.  It was like being in a giant game of Pac Man and the ghosts all start closing in.
It was a good lesson in humility I suppose.  Funny how those things work out.  But now you know where a lot of the furniture in my rectory comes from.  And if you ever go to St. Paul/s rectory and sit in really cool wooden chairs, you will know their provenance and the story of humility at the end of the year 2016.

Friday, December 30, 2016


GIRM 107 - 110

My father was a difficult man with whom to play volley ball.  He was that guy that liked to play everybody’s position for them.  I could stand through an entire game and not have to to
uch the ball. 

In the same way, liturgists will tell us that ministries should not be all done by one person: lecturing, serving, and distributing communion all at one Mass.  Neither should they be artificially divided up in order to give as many people as possible a chance to “do a ministry.” So, for example, a reading should not be divided up between lectors, one starting, one reading the middle, one reading the end of any given reading.  The noted exception noted being the Passion.

The priests, save for those parts that are explicitly allowed, are not permitted to divide their roles up such as, “I’ll take the Liturgy of the World and you take the Liturgy of the Eucharist.”  Deacons can do that however such as the above example or one takes the singing parts and one does the working parts . . . 

Different ministries can be done by one person if there is a lack of ministers.  So if you were serving and there was nobody else available, you could also do the readings but this is clearly a permit-able but none-the-less exception to the rule.

Remembering Pope Emeritus’s writings however, the MOST IMPORTANT JOB for the lay faithful at the Mass is to PRAY THE MASS.  This is essential.  Those doing the readings or ushering or serving are not “getting to do more,” they are in some ways being distracted from doing the most important job: that of giving glory and praise to God - offering themselves for all that their Father has given them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Read more about it HERE.

Watch the press conference at 10:00AM TODAY (Wednesday morning) HERE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Truth is like poetry.  And most people (*) hate poetry."  from the movie The Big Short

QUOTE IIIt ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  same source by attributed to Mark Twain.


If you were at our Lessons and Carols or the 4PM Christmas Mass you heard this amazing you man play our organ.  But that is only part of the story.  Read more HERE.

Here is St. Sebastian as people started coming in for the 7PM vigil.
This is me trying to remain alert and awake on Christmas Eve.  I just got a text from someone saying, "I think you should keep you Lumber Liturgical look until Easter."  I am inclined that way but my sister is campaigning otherwise.
 Fr. K. got me these glasses.  They should help with the problem noted in yesterday's post.
Pop some popcorn and reserve the television.  Mother Thomas (and I) will air on WVIZ on January 6 at 8:30 p.m! It will also be published online and featured on other Ideastream channels.

Think this is my all time favorite (secular) Christmas carol: