Tuesday, May 31, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: “God is full of mercy and love – but He means business.” Fr. Gene Fulton
QUOTE II: “Don’t be ashamed of being scared. To be afraid is a sign of common sense. Only complete idiots are not afraid of anything.” From Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s “The Angel’s Game”


I've been out of town for a couple of days so this is late and short AND I didn't get the chance to wish our veterans Happy Memorial Day and God's blessings on all those who still serve!

The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter reports that the foundress of the Christ Child Society is up for canonization! Great news! We have a very active branch of it here and MANY Sebastianites are involved and doing GREAT work! More here.

Here is a talk given at St. Sebastian not too long ago.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Univerae Ecclesiae

“To the Universal Church”

This is the title of a rather shocking document to come out of Rome very recently. How it is shocking depends on one’s personal preferences. Some are shocked with joy, some are shell shocked. Most I believe won’t care because it will not affect most people and things will roll along just fine with few noticing anything.

There was a time in the Church when we did not say what is now called the extraordinary form of the Mass. Then we were allowed to with significant restrictions as long as we had permission of our bishop. Then we were allowed to say it without permission but to be public required differenting regulations among bishops. Now, not only is to be openly permitted, it is also somewhat promoted even to the point of being taught in the seminary. (In this way Saint Sebastian is cutting edge once again.)

In fact, not only the Mass but all the rites of the Church are to be made available in the manner they were celebrated prior to Vatican II at least in some way in each diocese. The only people they are to be refused to are those who do not recognize the validity of the ordinary form (Vatican II Mass) and those who do not recognize the pope as head of the Church. If there is a lack of priests it is suggested that they be brought in until trained priests are in place.

I am not going to go into any further detail. Here is an excellent place to read about the document and here is the document itself. I won’t reinvent the horse. (the horse?)

Of course there are significant obstacles to be overcome. All of the books and materials are not readily available and when they are they are very expensive. There is a lack of qualified people to teach the Mass let alone priests to celebrate it or the other rites. It is easy to say, “bring in a religious order” it is another to find someone to pay for it. Many churches have been renovated to such an extent that it would be difficult to perform some of the rituals properly in them and in more modern churches it would be practically impossible. Like all documents it will be looooooooong in implementation but it does appear to be on the horizon.

I remember asking my pastor growing up (after whom I took my confirmation name and the man who inspired my vocation) what he thought of all the changes in the Church. He said, “When all the money has been made wrecking churches (his words, not mine) all of this will revert and we will spend twice as much fixing them back up when the Church starts really enacting Vatican II.

I thought, though normally rather insightful, that he was a bit blind on this point.

Turns out I was.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Dear Catholic Anglophones,
(I like that word. I just learned it about a month ago.)

Anyway, Dear Catholic people who worship at Mass in English,

Hopefully you are aware that there is a new translation coming out of the Mass which will be used starting the first Sunday of Advent this year. If you have read this blog in the past you know that I am looking forward to it and think it a good thing. Even for people looking forward to it the changeover will present certain challenges. Not the least of which that there are some parts of what will be the old translation that has a certain cadence that I enjoy saying and it will be gone forever. Like saying the lines along with a movie that you enjoy too much such as:

“You’ve got to eat your breakfast Margie”


“Very well. I’ll bide my time. But just try and stay out of my way, just try! I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too!”

it would be a bummer if Hollywood gave it a rewrite that must always be said from now on.

“Well and fitting! For now I will retreat but will be ready to strike when that door of opportunity opens again. Try to remain far from clutches, flee! I will prevail over you my beautiful one, and that side kick dog of yours will meet his doom also!”

Actually – that wasn’t too bad. Might be fun.

But I digress,

There are things to like greatly about the current translation. But a new translation is coming out for the entire English speaking world no matter what. It can be painful or it can be merely a challenge for a few weeks. In any event, each person can help their fellow parishioners through the process or be the cause of distress. Please consider being an agent of hope amidst some of the confusion and resistance. Help bring your parish through the challenge. (Your priest will greatly appreciate it also!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Here’s something none of us would have said 20 years ago:
“I don’t like the pictures my phone takes indoors.”

That would have been like saying, “I don’t like the T.V. reception my iron gets.”

30 years ago (actually much less) if you wanted to get a hold of somebody by phone you had to call them on a machine attached to a wall (which means they had to be in close range) and they had to be home because the phone would not answer itself as it does today.

Now you can be disturbed anytime, any day, almost anywhere. At one time it was only doctors who left their number at the front desk at the theater in case of emergency. Now little Miss Mary Jones carries her cell into Mass in the off chance that Jimmy should call to tell her that Nancy is now allowed to be their friend again because she no longer has cooties.

So there you have it; universal, instant communication. But it is still not as good as capabilities that we have had available to us since Adam and Eve. It is why I don’t buy it when someone says, “I want to, but I don’t have time to pray.” It may be true that you don’t have time to do a holy hour or an entire rosary in one sitting, but there is always time to pray. Waiting for your drink at the coffee shop, at the red light, walking into a meeting, fueling the car, walking from the car to the garage door, in the moment that you rub your eyes after a long time staring at a computer screen, waiting for the sign to change to “WALK,” the few seconds of quiet in the little monsignor room, between messages on your phone (“Message deleted. Next message” is enough time to say, “God help me with that person,”) and you get the idea.

Being a person of prayer and not merely a person who prays is part of a mind set. As loved ones come to mind during the day, so should God. Prayer is possible anytime, any day, anywhere, the cost is cheap, the technology simple, connections guaranteed, there are no dead zones, and the coverage is universal and interdimensional.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: “American Catholicism is like a professional football game; 60,000 people desperately in need of exercise watching 22 men desperately in need of rest.” Author unknown.

QUOTE II: “Statistics are not very comforting if you are one of the fatalities.” Author unknown


C. K. sent in this provocative article about China and Christianity. Thanks CK.

Someone brought this web to my attention again. Catholics Come Home. Pass it on to someone who needs it.

Here is a "behind the scenes" of one of their videos. I actually got to meet Eduardo Verastegui (I hope I spelled that right) when he was in town a few years back. He really is a great supporter of priests.

Here is another fantastic group - Emmaus Roundtable. They have regular meetings at St. Sebastian. Check them out!

Looking for something to do in the Diocese of Cleveland. The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter provides this link to parish activities.

Monday, May 23, 2011


This past week I was rather swamped with what seemed like an endless stream of administrative work. You may have noticed posts coming out later and later. (And there are no cartoons today.) It was a little disheartening because it can make a priest feel as though he cannot do that which is ordained to do – shuffling paperwork and attending meetings instead of those things we tend to think of priests doing such as sacraments.

Retired priests talk about this every now and then. “I can go back to really being a priest now.” By this they mean that they no longer have to give over large chunks of their calendar to worldly matters. Not too long ago there was a meeting of priests in the diocese and one of the priests stood up and said that we should consider relieving priests of administrative work so they can focus on sacramental and pastoral work. There was a smattering of applause and grumblings of approval. I was not among them, but last week I would have been.

There are many administrative things that a priest does that people in most jobs (or even parents and home owners) have to face so it is hardly unique. There is so much that I would like to accomplish (and perhaps there is a sin of pride there) but there is so much that must be done in order to get around to the things that I want to do: teacher contracts, staff reviews, new budget matters, diocesan mandates (not the least of which is the diocesan capitol campaign) and the like. Working on that I started feel resentful for it was a perfect storm of almost having no time for anything but this kind of work for a spell. (It is not always like that.)

Fortunately I had a visit from a priest friend this weekend who set me straight. We did not take vows as priests only to do pastoral and sacramental work. We were ordained to sanctify, teach, and shepherd. It is the role of the priest to do some of this “shepherding” work – it is not an ugly, evil-of-necessity chore that gets loaded as an extra onto the priest’s plate, but part of who are ordained to be.

There was something in the remembering of that call that made it seem as though the sun came out today (well, actually it did) and made these demands which will lessen in the summer to not seem so burdensome but part of who I am and all the ordained are called to be as priests.

Friday, May 20, 2011


This weekend is ordination weekend in the Diocese of Cleveland. It is always a great thing to go to and the diocese as a whole is invited so go if you can. (Saturday at 10:00 at the Cathedral.) Duties at the parish will keep me from going but Fr. Pfeiffer will be there.
Part of the ceremony is the laying on of hands. The laying on of hands is a prayer calling down the Holy Spirit upon a person. When you think of it, the gesture is beautiful. Extending back through the Bible a man who was likewise ordained and has the faculties (a duly empowered bishop) calls down the Holy Spirit, chooses a man, and signifies the choice to the community all by the laying on of hands. This has been going on in the Catholic Church since its foundation. Therefore in theory I should be able to trace my ordination back to a bishop who can trace his ordination back to a bishop who can trace his ordination back to a bishop all the way back to an Apostle.

This is not the only place that the laying on of hands takes place however. It is also used to call down the Holy Spirit at confirmation. There is a laying of hands at the anointing of the sick also.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


If someone were to say to you, “The collection basket is at the front of the church,” where would you go? Some people would go to the sanctuary area and some people would go to the front doors. We can use the same language but mean different things.

There is also different “languages” used in English. I don’t know of language is the word that I would use but it is a fascinating topic which was given at the parish this past lent in a series put on by our Social Justice Committee. Different ways of seeing and speaking about the world following social economic lines. For example when speaking about food the very poor will talk about how they will find their next meal, those in the middle sphere will talk about whether they have the “right” foods, and the very rich will comment on the presentation.

I found this fascinating but the more I thought about it the less strange it seemed. Think about a hospital visit and how it might be spoken about by a normally healthy person, a person of moderate health, and the person who spends much of their lives in and out of health care facilities. How one talks about navigating red tape, prospects of going on with life, how to deal with bills change dramatically with each group. It all is affected by your world view.

It is not always WHAT people are talking about but HOW they talk about it that tells so much of a story. It is another important key to effective listening. The topic may remain the same between a number of people but that on which they focus and how they tell it may tell you more than the presented facts.

There is a huge difference between hearing and listening. One absorbs a shallow presentation. Guys – and I count myself deeply in this category – are particularly noted for this. That is why it is not a wise idea to tell me something hoping that I’ll pick up on the undercurrents of the conversation and understand something else entirely. If you are sad about something say it. “You know, they used to . . .” with the hope that I will understand that you want it to happen again just doesn’t work on me and most guys I know. I (we) – actually all of us – need to work on listening better. It is complicated because people often don’t even know what they want to get across. You think it would be O so simple. But it is not and requires more effort than most realize on both parts for true communication to take place.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It may be a little shallow but as a seminarian I remember a few of us guys talking about the kind of parish to which we would like to be assigned. Often it took the form of thinking over the (in the eye of each beholder) beautiful architecture in the diocese and how magnificent it must be to celebrate Mass there, the Divine Beauty buoyed with earthly beauty.

Then you hit the actual world of the priest and one of the lessons that a young priest learns quickly is that you will sacrifice a lot of earthly beauty for a happy home. I would rather celebrate Mass in a sanctuary that looks like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise than live with unhappy priests. A rectory can be a dysfunctional place but Jesus is Jesus no matter where He is celebrated.

It is interesting to see how quickly a parish that has more than one priest picks up on how happy things are in the rectory even when the priests think they are covering well. If the rectory hums, the parish hums. If there is division in the house there a certain spirit lacking in the parish – maybe even division.

At current I think I have the best of both worlds, a beautiful church and a happy rectory. But there were times that this was not the case which makes the current situation all the more appreciated. Is it just plain dumb luck – or perhaps Divine intervention? But in any case what is important must always rise to the top. It is never clearer what that is than when there is difficulty. What is the buoy that we grab on to? What sees us through? I’ll pass on the beautiful Church to have a happy rectory. I’ll pass on marriage to be a priest. I’ll take a pass on the possibility of wealth for the chance to celebrate the Eucharist. There are my buoys. What are yours?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.  It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.  'He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,' is not a peice of mysticism for saints and heroes.  It is a peice of everyday advice for sailors and mountaineers."  from G. K. Chesterton's "Othodoxy"


One of my favorite writers/homilists in the diocese has another article to read in Dappled Things.  Click here.

This in: "This is Martin from John Paul the Great Catholic University. JP Catholic will be celebrating the Beatification of Pope John Paul II by hosting a special webinar with Dr. Michael Barber on June 2nd at 6pm (pacific)."  See more here.

From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter:  "The Church of the Diocese of Cleveland joyfully announces the Ordination to the Priesthood for service to the Diocese of Cleveland."  Read more here.

I know this video is not in English but I really like the video.  It is about the 500th anniversary of the Swiss Guard.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


We are heading into the depths of ordination season. Fr. Pfeiffer just went to his uncle’s 50th anniversary of his priesthood this weekend. His own is only two days away (2 years!.) I never remember when mine is remembering better that my First Mass of Thanksgiving was on Pentecost Sunday. My sister, however, told me yesterday that it is May 30th, 13 years ago.
Wow. Thirteen years. And I’m still thankful.

When I get the chance I tell those who are about to be ordained to journal EVERYTHING. So much happens in the course of a couple days and they will be so wired that they will end up forgetting much of it if they do not.

The night before ordination I spent at the seminary, woke early, got dressed in my new suit and walked down the seminary chapel to pray the office (though we were technically dispensed that day) and then kissed the sanctuary floor as sort of a goodbye to the old place, then off to the cathedral. My family, there early in order to make sure they could find parking, was sitting in a coffee shop probably for the comfort of my father who only expected to be in a church for his baptism, his marriage, and his funeral. Lugging my alb and other necessities I only popped in for a second to say hello and greet their happy faces and then off to the bishop’s parlor.

Slowly my classmates showed in the order that they always showed up for everything from Mass to class to dinner. The bishops entered already dressed so we took the hint and vested up ourselves. My class consecrated themselves to the Blessed Virgin and so we huddled together to ask her to pray for us in this special day.

Moments before heading out the bishop called us over and prayed with us again and then it was outside with us to join the long line of servers, deacons, priests, and bishops in a procession that stretched down the block. The bells in the tower peeled like thunder drowning out the protestors of various sorts. We wound our way up and into the cathedral where the mighty organ helped swell the singing of the packed church. I remember walking down the aisle, hearing my name called out from time to time, seeing the flash of cameras (cell phone cameras not yet the rage), and feeling the excitement of the crowd.

My chair was to the far left (which meant I was last for everything and meant that I had time to remember what to do and correct any mistakes that my classmates may have made.) Our families sat right behind us and over the pew were the vestments which we would soon put on as newly ordained priests.

After we are ordained, we kneel on the marble step and the priests of the diocese come and lay hands on us. Some grip like they are trying to get a stuck lid off of a jar of peanut butter and some barely touch at all. We wore knee pads from our inline skating days being told by older guys how difficult it is to kneel on the marble for so long.

The bishop put Chrism on our hands and we went into sacristy to straighten up a little bit. Though it was strictly forbidden I had a hanky that had the word embroidered on it that said, “Upon the ordination of my son, May 30th, 199 whatever . . .” I forget the year, and I wiped my hands that had just been consecrated on it. Later when she died it was placed in her coffin.

After the Mass we went back to the bishop’s parlor joined by our parents for pictures and then out to greet the people giving so many blessing that I started to lose my voice. My nephew helped me gather my things then and just he and I drove to my parent’s house together discussing what had just happened. It was a quiet and very special little spell with my nephew. One of my favorite memories.

After collapsing at home we went down to Slovene Center where there was a reception. It was already filling up and everyone clapped as we entered and much of the first hour was in giving first blessings. I remember having about 30 drinks that night. I would a take a sip and someone would want a picture, I would put it down and then lose track of it until someone would hand me another to lose. My Uncle Frank’s band played and the rest of the night was pretty much a joyous blur save for a quick walk with some high school friends out and around the block – them trying out the title “Father” and me trying to get used to it.

It was a late night – but there was a big day the next day! There would be the First Mass, the parish banquet, the holy hour with the Litany of the Blessed Virgin and benediction.

And then – utter collapse into a happy coma of deep sleep.

Friday, May 13, 2011


 Sorry there was no post yesterday. The day was jammed and there simply was no time. Then today Blogger was down during the time I would have been able to work on it. Here is post intended for yesterday so – see you next week!

I remember watching movies at the seminary. If there was one, brief, inappropriate scene, it was at that exact moment that a faculty member would walk in. It was embarrassing but it made me aware of what I was filling my head with; a lot of junk that I did not need.

Last night Fr. P, Fr. S., and Fr. M., were going to watch the special on the Vatican on the local PBS station. I have not really watched T.V. since Fr. P. moved here a couple of years ago save for some sports games or the beatification of John Paul. So before the show was to come on I turned on the T.V. to try to find the correct station. I must have hit the payload of inappropriateness just like the professors catching the seminarians watching a decidedly unsuitable scene from a movie.

The first scene involved what looked like a man (boy by maturity standards) proposing marriage to a woman before all of his friends. He got down on one knee, brought a ring box out of his pocket, and asked, “Will you move in with me?” and when he opened the wring box there was a door key in it. Of course the friends cheered and the girl cried and said, “Yes!”

Then I flipped through to find the station that tells you what is playing. While waiting for the stations to cycle though there was a commercial for a contraceptive called “Beyaz,” such an odd name that I thought it was a joke. Beautiful women were running and exercising and picking flowers all because they could live like the couple in the above scenario but be free from any consequences. Well almost. Taking this drug may cause blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and not keep you free from HIV or STDs. BUT you can continue to jog and garden without fear of pregnancy (apparently a worse fate than a blood clot, stroke or heart attack) because you are artificially sterile.

I think when walking the dog at night and seeing the blue glow coming from so many windows. How this stuff is pumped, in large doses, into our homes every day – into nursing homes (please, God, if I am sick in bed and unable to respond, do not let them turn on a T.V. to keep me company) and now into restaurants, grocery store checkout lines, and in our cars. Each of us may say, “Well, I don’t really believe the things they say,” but how can we stay true to that when it is presented to us daily with the message, “This is normal.” Worse yet, when we use T.V. as an unmonitored baby sitter, what will happen to young folk? Then again, even if it is monitored, who can prevent unintended raunchy commercials? How many people do not even see this as a problem?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I found this story among some notes used for a homily a number of years ago. It bears repeating.

Traveling down the road and listening to a call in advice show (the name of which has long been forgotten) this situation was presented to the host:

“The company I co-own owns tickets to (some big sports team.) When my oldest son turned 16 I took him to the big game for his birthday. I only get the tickets once a year and it is impossible to get them otherwise. Anyway, I told my younger son that when he turned 16 that I would take him.

“Time passes and my younger son is now 16 and he is looking forward to the game. However the tickets are now invaluable and they do an incredible amount for my company. The schmooze value is through the roof. There are 110 reasons why everyone would benefit including my son if I used the tickets for clients.

“I am at a lost at what I should do. Do you have any advice how to handle this?”

The host responded with only one devastating comment:

“Give the tickets to that which you love.”

Define in your mind what you love because that determines why you get up, do what you do, and who or what gets your time, care, thoughts, concern, words, priority, presence, prayers, forgiveness, heart, and tickets.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: “However much you may cultivate your heart, clear the soul of your nature, root out vices, sow virtues; If you do not release the springs of mercy, your fasting will bear no fruit.” St. Chrysologus

QUOTE II: “Perhaps God does not need cathedrals. But we do.” Michael J. Farrell


From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewlsetter: "Reflecting on the death of terrorist, Osama bin Laden, the Vatican offered this understanding; that in the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred." Read more here.

From the same source: "WVIZ/PBS ideastream has a special coming up that you may be interested in: DISCOVERING SECRETS OF THE VATICAN. It will air Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:00 p.m. on WVIZ/PBS ideastream." Read more here.

Fr. D. sent in this link to a story about one of our seminarians. Thanks friend.

This is from Miss L. You're a country fan?

Monday, May 9, 2011


So, I thought I would start some spring cleaning around the rectory. One of the tasks I decided to take on was the cleaning out of the fireplace. In general, I have heard that when there are so many ashes that one cannot see the grate any longer it is a good idea to clean out the fire box. That being the case and the fact that it was spring AND I did not want to do any more paper work, this was a match made in heaven.
Of course the first part of the task is to get the shop vac up out of the basement. "Convenient" is not a term that I would apply to this machine. Now I may be a bit biased for I believe that this thing hates me and it is difficult for me not have some ill thoughts against it.
Well, the beast and I made it up to the fireplace. Of course there was the problem of old wiring and the plug having three prongs. But about a half an hour of looking for an adapter solved that problem.  After about a minute of vacuuming and only clearing away about the first inch of ashes it stopped picking up anything. I assumed that this meant that the hose was clogged. I detached the hose which of course spilled soot all over and did my best to unclog it and the stick it back onto the vacuum.

Here is where things started to go tragically wrong. You know, these things are not marked very well at all. Here is how the opening on a shop vac SHOULD be marked:
But they are NOT. I assure you. I mean - HOW OFTEN do you need something connected to a machine called a VACUUM do you need it to blow its guts OUT? Not often I would bet. At least not often enoughenough that it causes you to think, "Hey! I better make sure this vacuum is going to, I don't know, VACUUM, and NOT spit out a jet stream.

In any even, that did NOT occur to me. So I plugged it into JET ENGINE and then aimed it at THIS:
With this result.
Fine. Whatever. Things happen. But the job still needs to be done. But after a few more seconds it stopped picking any ashes up again. So I opened the beast to have a look inside. (NOTE: NEVER open a shoe vac indoors.) There was the problem. It wasn't blocked. It was COMPLETELY full.

So the lid was placed back carefully on the machine and then I picked it up BY THE HANDLES PROVIDED which is something else THAT SHOULD NEVER BE DONE INDOORS.

At that point it was just, "Get this thing out of the house" and try to minimize the damage.
Finally I did the responsible thing and left the rest of the job to professionals.
With deepest apologies.

Friday, May 6, 2011


On Maundy Thursday for the Eucharistic procession at the end of Mass, the deacon and I put on humeral veils in order to carry the Blessed Sacrament. At our parish council meeting the other night somebody asked, “What was that shawl thing you were wearing?” Though it has been in use in the Church since the seventh century and is still called for in current rubrics (another fallacy of what Vatican II did away with) it seems some people are unfamiliar with it.

The humeral veil is a piece of material about eight feet long and a couple of feet wide, sometimes with a clasp and hand pockets that is worn around the shoulders. It is used liturgically to pay honor to some sacred object particularly in procession such as sacred relics. It is used during benediction to get the point across that it is Jesus, not the priest who is extending the blessing. For one, it is the veil, not the hands of the priest that is touching the monstrance. Secondly, when lifted aloft the veil covers the priest in order to bring attention to Him. Jesus is the one that matters, not the priest.

There is a very similar article worn whenever the bishop is celebrating. The description would be very similar but when used in this case it is called a vimp. One each is worn by two servers known as the miter and crosier bearer who, when fulfilling this role, are also called vimps. (Are YOU calling ME a vimp?) It serves much the same purpose but for different reasons. It is the vimp, not the hands of the server that touches the miter and crosier out of respect for the objects of the office, but it also serves the great purpose of protecting them from being soiled by so many hands.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Listen carefully. You will never hear it again. And like the cicadas that come back in droves once every 10 years or so, these may disappear never to be heard again at least in any official manner.

As we go through the Easter cycle of prayers at Mass (and this past Lent, Advent, and Christmas) this is the last time we will hear these translations of the prayers at Mass. It seems odd . Of course it will not be as shocking as the change from Latin into the vernacular, but it will be change nonetheless – as if each page we finish we could rip that page out and throw it away.

So listen carefully. The English speaking world is on the verge of change.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


As a child I asked the question, “Would I have believed in Jesus and followed Him if I were alive when He was walking the earth?” It was a serious concern for me – my personality being one of preservation rather than innovation. Would I have thought, “Here comes a guy who is just going to ruin everything!”

One day I heard a homily in which a priest tried to tackle this question. The basic gist of his proposal was that if you believe in Jesus now, you probably would have then. That eased my young conscience at the time but I knew it was a temporary fix - I didn’t entirely buy it.

More recently this thought came to mind. It is not a sure fire answer either but might give the contemplator something on which to chew. The idea developed from reading the Bread of Life discourse in the Gospel of John. Jesus is surrounded by all of His disciples (more than just the famous twelve) and He teaches rather emphatically, in fact repeats the teaching more than any other teaching in one spot in all of the Bible, that He is the Bread of Life and that we must eat His Body and drink His Blood. “If you do not eat my Body and drink my Blood, you do not have life within you.”

As a result of this many of His disciples left Him and returned to their former way of life. It was not that they did not understand what He was teaching it was, rather, that they understood and did not like it. So they left and He let them go only to turn to Peter not to correct any misperceptions (there were none) but to ask, “Are you going to leave me too?”

So here is the question to contemplate; Do you accept His teachings now? Do you at least assent to controversial, unpopular, and countercultural teachings of His Church? Some of these topics include contraception, Mass on Sunday, confession, Sex outside of marriage. . .

Can we say, “I believe in Jesus but not the teachings of His Church?” Does that make sense? If written off as a Church in error can you prove it through Scripture, Tradition, the teaching of the Church Fathers, and the 2,000 year held beliefs of His Church? Are these “sayings” too hard, “Who can believe them?” Or would you say like Peter, “Lord, where would we go? You have the words of everlasting life.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: We have as good a national gallery as anybody. But nobody has so many Unnational Galleries as we have. Nowhere else in the civilized world are works of art of the most gigantic scope and importance so easily thought of as possessions of a some private man.” G. K. Chesterton “The Venus de Milo”

QUOTE II: “How we eat our meals is informed by who we are and, more importantly, passes on to the next generation who they are.” David Berensford


From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter: The Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven) is recited, in place of the Angelus, during the Easter Season from Holy Saturday through Pentecost Sunday. Read more here.

From the same source: Did you know, you can reference a web page pertaining to the three monthly First Friday Clubs in the diocese?
Read more here.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Let this be a lesson for you 45 year old priest: Don’t be relatively inactive all winter long and then think you can stay up all night playing basketball with high school students. You will pay for it.

As you are probably aware, John Paul II was beatified this past Sunday morning in a ceremony that occurred at approximately 4AM our time. Not sure if we would regret it more if we stayed in bed rather than watch it on T.V. we thought it would be a cool idea to have a lock – in, stay up all night with some of our youth and then watch it live on T.V. Beginning at 10PM they youth arrived along with chaperones and us two priests to keep each other occupied and awake until the pre-ceremonies were broadcasted starting at 3:30AM.

So a couple of volleyball games were had though that was hardly a descriptive name for the game we were playing. It should have been called serveball for that is about as far as we got 65% of the time. There was a break for pizza and a little discussion about John Paul and then the dreaded basketball game.

The nice thing about being the oldest person playing is that I had some weight in calling, “Old Man Break,” as I struggled to catch my breath, rehydrate, and not look completely foolish in front of the others. (I think Fr. Pf secretly liked the old man breaks too but was loathe to admit it.) Anyway that was the beginning of my downfall making it incredibly difficult to genuflect the next morning at Mass and, to be quite honest, I am still sore today.

Limping over to the church we had a holy hour with a little homilette and some music and a visit from the police who wondered what we were doing in the church at 2AM. “Honest officer, I’m the pastor! Everything is Okay.” (Actually, I am VERY thankful that they have an eye out for us.) Then benediction and off to the basement to watch the beatification.

It was quite an event to see. But basically this is what the audience watching the T.V. looked like.

Ha! We may be older but we can still stay up later.

The next day the youth, looking a little rough around the edges, walked in the opening procession with a picture of John Paul and placed it in the sanctuary for the Mass. I remember when John Paul was elected pope. I was in public Jr. High School and for some odd reason the teachers let me and one other student out of class to go down to the library and watch his election. I was never sure why they did that but it remains one of the strongest memories that I have of Jr. High School (other than the “tire” and “shaving cream” incidences.) I hope that this will help these youth remember his elevation on this path to priesthood in much the same way.