Friday, March 28, 2014


There was a case of a reported apparition of Mary that I went to check out one time.  It was pretty benign and as such seemed possibly legit.  Then one day “Mary” started to reveal things and give instructions found nowhere in the Tradition of revelation already presented to us.  At that point, I knew to pack my bags and enjoy prayer time elsewhere.


It is our dogmatic teaching that all revelation ended with the death of the last apostle.  (That doesn’t mean we might not discern a truth by contemplating more deeply truths already revealed to us along the lines of contemplating 2 + 2 and coming with the answer 4 for the first time) That being said, there will be no further revelations until the second coming of Christ.  This makes a great litmus test for discerning apparitions. 

Through the ages God has revealed Himself to us in many and varied ways which we have explored here before.  Works, acts, prophets all lead up to the ultimate revelation of God = Jesus Christ.  He completed and perfected the revelation of God.  In other words, He was here, He met us, He spoke to us, He passed on His will to us, established an institution to keep His memory and teaching alive, and finally gives Himself to us in His Body and Blood.  It would difficult to think of a way for Him to reveal Himself in time any more clearly unless He was reborn innumerable times and in thousands of locations to make Himself available to each of us personally – which, come to think of it, is exactly what kind of happens in the Eucharist.  Huh.  Well, I’m out of ideas.
That’s why He is God, and I am lowly priest.
Thus we have the new and definitive covenant with God.  There will not be a newer covenant the new and everlasting covenant.  It’s this or nothing. 


Paragraph 4 of Dei Verbum

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Continuing yesterday’s post . . .


What about the women?  What is happening to the religious orders around us?  Though worldwide numbers are growing just as worldwide vocations to the priesthood are soaring, in the west the numbers are pretty abysmal.  The median age for the orders that served as the backbone of dioceses is skyrocketing.  The Los Angeles Times reported in 1994 that only 3% of nuns were under the age of 40.  But what is more astonishing about this number is that the vast majority of the nuns under 40 are in a limited number of orders.


In the same article was this, “Sister Eleace King, a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, concurred.  "It tells me that the majority of religious congregations of women in this country will not survive. Most are dying," King said.”

A 2012 story in the NCR reported however, “One of the most striking findings regarding new entrants," say the writers," is that almost equal numbers of women have been attracted to institutes in both conferences of women religious in the U.S. in recent years. As of 2009, L.C.W.R. institutes reported 73 candidates/postulants, 117 novices and 317 sisters in temporary vows/commitment. C.M.S.W.R. institutes reported 73 candidates/postulants, 158 novices and 304 sisters in temporary vows/commitment." 
But this is a little misleading.  As Fr. John Larson wrote, “It seems that a recent article in America has used some statistics that appear to show that LCWR and CMSWR communities had about equal numbers of postulants, novices, and temporary professed according to the 2009 CARA survey, and thus things were somewhat equal in terms of vocations. However, the LCWR represents over 3 times as many communities as the CMSWR. This is definitely not a fair use of stats. The article wants to be “devoid of distortions.” I am not convinced.
“Another thing that the article points out is: “The vast majority of both L.C.W.R. and C.M.S.W.R. institutes do not have large numbers of new entrants.” This is true, but of the few that do have large numbers, it should be noted that they are all CMSWR communities. It may be “unfair” to put the media spotlight on them, but having lots of vocations attracts attention, does it not?”


So the issues are varied, confusing, and controversial.
Recently, there was an altar call at a local young adult retreat.  There are always at least a few young men who will step forward and declare that they are considering the priesthood.  It is particularly to see this down at the youth retreats at Steubenville.  But more exciting is seeing how many young women step forward to say that they are considering religious life.  At the local retreat mentioned above, TWENTY TWO young women stepped forward.
Twenty two.  At this one retreat.
It is a nasty little secret however that most of these that follow through leave our diocese.  Women from Cleveland have joined the Sisters of Life, Nashville Dominicans, TORs, and a host of other orders that seem to be supplying that for which these young women are looking.  Cleveland has women’s religious vocations.  The nuns in our area have such great institutions, amazing histories, outstanding achievements, monstrous support, huge hearts, great potential, and I wish we were feeding them.  We need them.  We love them. 
That being said all this comes together to make it more difficult for a woman to discern a religious vocation.  If you know of a woman in this position, offer her all the prayer and support you can muster.  It is going to be a long and arduous journey.


Last week I wrote about the seminarian situation in the Diocese of Cleveland.  Somebody wrote in and asked about the rest of the United States.  What’s going on and what should we do?  It led me to do some research and the findings are interesting.  In some ways very encouraging and in other ways we really need to get to work.
First some quick background:  In the Catholic system of priest training there are generally three levels of seminaries.  Almost extinct in the United States is the high school seminary.  Cleveland’s high school seminary closed a number of decades ago.  Next is what equates to the college level seminary.  In Cleveland that is Borromeo Seminary.  It used to be its own college but has since associated itself with John Carroll University which is now the institution that awards the diploma though formation and many of the seminarian classes are held at the seminary.  Then there is the graduate level seminary.  St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology is the institution that fulfills this role here in Cleveland.

The number of graduate level Catholic seminarians (this is the important number since it is from this group that men are ordained) in the United States was 3,694 in 2013, a 16% increase since 1995.  That does not mean 3,000+ will be ordained next year.  This is the number of men in a 4 to 5 year program and will be ordained, God willing, over the next few years.  That sounds like a huge number but divide it by 50 states, divide that number by the number of dioceses in your state, and then divide that by the number of parishes in your diocese.  Last year 511 men were ordained.  The peak was in 1964 with 994.


Here is what a typical newly ordained Catholic priests looks like in the United States according to an article in the Catholic World News:


81% has two Catholic parents

20% have 5 or more siblings. 

10% have 4 siblings

22% have 3 siblings

4% have been home schooled

63% went to university before entering the seminary

62% worked full time before entering the seminary

67% served as altar servers

67% are white

15% Hispanic

10% Asian

5% African American

68% regularly pray the rosary

62% participated in Eucharistic adoration before entering the seminary

67% were encouraged by their parish priest
40% of the men were the oldest of the family.
Just by comparison, while both of my parents were Catholic, my dad was non-practicing (to say the least) until his death bed.  “Religion is for weak people,” he said, “but at least you will be leader among weak people.”  (Ha!) I have two sisters, was an altar server, graduated from the University of Akron and worked for a couple of years before entering the seminary.  I am of Slovenian descent and prayed the rosary on a semi-regular bases then and occasionally made my way to St. Augustine in Barberton for Adoration.  My home pastor, after whom I took my confirmation name, encouraged me, and I am the baby of the family.
So there is the trend but as you can see it is merely a trend.  Don’t carry this list around with you to find the perfect person to encourage to be a priest.  Find a single male (huge age range here) and suggest it to him.  (The worst he can do is laugh.)  We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 


1.      Identify him.

2.      Encourage him.

3.      Pray for him.

4.      Repeat

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUNDThis week's quotes come from the second half of a book (other quotes I posted earlier) called, "Eifelheim" by Michael Flynn.  It is science fiction (aliens are involved - so far this is the second book I've read with aliens in it that I actually like) but his treatment of the Church is very fair (I believe he is not a Catholic himself) and even better his treatment of the mediaeval period, which most of us had been taught in school (erroneously) was a terribly backward and superstition time.  Before we get to the quotes, here is part of an interview with Mr. Flynn in which he counters the accusation that he made the mediaeval characters in "Eifelheim" too enlightened:
"The Middle Ages was an age of reason ... and yet we've been taught to think of it as an age of superstition. It probably glorified reason far more than the Age of Reason. The medievals invented the university, with a standard curriculum, courses of study, degrees and, of course, funny hats.

The curriculum that was taught consisted almost entirely of reason, logic and natural philosophy—or, as we'd say, science. They didn't teach humanities, they didn't teach the arts, they taught essentially logical reasoning and natural philosophy. If you wanted to be a doctor of theology, a churchman, you had to first go through a course in science and thinking.

This was an era where the most celebrated theologian of all time was Thomas Aquinas, who dared to apply logic and reason to the study of theology. In fact, theology is the application of logic and reason to religious questions. They must have elevated reason to a pretty high pedestal if they were willing to subject their own religion to it.

In the Middle Ages, they first learned how to apply mathematics to scientific questions. After the time of the story, Nicholas Oresme, who was mentioned briefly in passing, was able to prove the mean speed theorem in physics using principles of Euclidean geometry, which marks the first time a theory had been proven by using mathematics, as opposed to us[ing] mathematics to describe the angle of refraction or to do surveying."
(Thanks MA for introducing me to the book.)
Now to the quotes:

QUOTE I:  "'Those who hold the middle ground,' said Gregor, 'are often attacked by both camps.  Between two armies is a dangerous place to graze your flock.'"
QUOTE II:  "'Any fool can hope when success lies plainly in view.  It wants genuine strength to hope when matters are hopeless.'"
QUOTE III:  "'One cannot love the world.  It is too large.  But a fleck of ground so far as his eye can see, one may hold precious above all.'"
QUOTE IIII:  "'"Only one thing removes all chance of death; and that thing is death"'"
QUOTE V:  "'The body's ills are the least of ills, for they end only in death, which is but a little thing.  But if the spirit dies, then all is lost.'"
QUOTE VI:  "'Many a good truth has been upheld by wicked men for their own purposes.  And good men have caused much wickedness in their zealotry.'"
The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter asks, "Did you know that Fortune Magazine just named Pope Francis "Greatest World Leader"?  Read more here.

Monday, March 24, 2014


For Lent, the parish has started a new workout program for those who don't have anything better to do with their early mornings hours besides sleep.  I took it on as part of my Lenten devotions since I've hardly exercised at all during the winter months.  In fact, it is part of a greater Lenten resolve to take a little bit better care of this Temple of the Holy Spirit in general, which has been sorely neglected.  If it were an actual building, it would need a new roof, some plumbing work, and a good paint job.  So here we go.  The only down side is beginning to exercise just before leading Stations of the Cross.  The knees revolted.

Cue: swelling music and a slow crawl up to a standing position. . .

Friday, March 21, 2014


Paragraph 3 of Dei Verbum
Do you remember Mike, the young man from Monday diary?  No matter where he looked, he did not see God.  He knew there was not such “thing” as God.  How odd it is then that for the attentive believer, it is difficult to look and not see God.  He reveals a bit of Himself in all of creation just like the artists reveals a bit of himself in his artwork.  He not only reveals Himself in His works, but through His deeds. 


Mike will buy anything scientific that such people tell him.  He does not have to see it, taste it, hear it, feel it, or smell it personally, but because scientists tell him that it is so and he trusts them and he “believes” it.  (Thus is he a man of faith and dogma.)  I understand that in theory he could do all the experiments to prove it to himself, though it would take a great many lifetimes. 

In a similar way, the Testaments are chuck full of people telling us that God does exist because they (heard Him, touched Him, saw Him . . .).  For some reason, these persons are easy to discount.  Whereas scientists may less likely be discounted, people of faith, in Mike’s world, almost always are.  Anyone before the modern era is considered inferior intellectually and could never recount phenomena accurately.  (What will future generations say of us?  How primitive and barbaric we may seem those in the future!  But are there not truths we can know now?  Can we not know there is more to life than what we can touch, feel, see, taste, and hear?  Is not the universe so much bigger than what we can put at the end of a telescope?)
And through this relationship with God, we have been told to expect Savior right from the first moment we needed one beginning with the proto-Gospel of Genesis 3:15 and continually throughout the Old Testament making Christ the only founder of a major religion that was foretold by prophets.
As St. Thomas said, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Sorry there was not a post yesterday.  Even though it was my day away there was a day of solid meetings to which I needed to attend from early morning until late at night.  At least they were mostly  pleasant.  One was with the person pictured here.  Woohoo!  Good to see you again who was the inspiration for Adam’s Ale!
On Monday I was at another meeting called the Presbyteral District meeting.  Dioceses are subdivided into smaller units of parishes.  (Kind of sounds like Moses and the advice he got from his father-in-law; divide them up into groups of thousands, hundreds, and tens . . . )  So we have the world, nations, dioceses, groupings within a diocese, parishes, and it can go on from there.


A diocese may be divided up either into districts or deaneries.  This diocese is divided up into districts.  St. Sebastian Parish is the Summit South district.  It was to this presbyteral (read: priests) district meeting to which I went.  At these meetings there are reports from the presbyteral council (the council of priests that meet monthly with the bishop) and we may craft a requested (or not so requested) response or send other topics to the council for discussion. 
Diocesan news is also discussed as well as announcements of things going on at parishes within the district that others might find intriguing.  Finally, there is often a presentation usually from one of the offices “downtown.”  This week, the presentation was from Fr. Michael McCandless who is the vocation director for the Diocese of Cleveland.
By all accounts, the seminary of the Diocese of Cleveland is one of the healthiest numbers wise in the nation.  We are nowhere near replacement rate, but we are doing quite well.  We are one of the only non-regional seminaries left.  That is, though there are seminaries with many more students, those students tend to come from many dioceses.  If you are a diocesan or religious studying at our seminaries in Cleveland, you or your order serves in the Cleveland area.  That makes our numbers all the more remarkable. 
Here are some things you need to know to help promote vocations and help a “culture of vocations” grow around you.


ü  The average age that a man begins thinking seriously about the priesthood is about 16 or 17.

ü  The average age of the ordinandi in our diocese is 29.

ü  48% were discouraged by parents, family, and/or friends.

ü  100% talked to a priest about their vocation.


If a young man was seriously thinking about the seminary and nobody spoke to them about it such as, “Hey, did you ever think of the priesthood - I think you would be great,” there is only a 15% chance that they will take any action about looking into the priesthood.
If the same young man had 2 people speak to him, there is a 30% chance that they will take an action.  If 3 people, there is a 45% chance.  If 4, 60%, and if 5, 75%. 
That is how vital you are.
Also, let young men know that going to the seminary (or even just looking into it) does not mean they chain you to the chapel and make you become a priest.  The seminary is a place of discernment.  It is a place to explore, not that you might find certainty in your decision, but clarity.
And, moms and dads, the education and formation that your son receives as an undergraduate is superior, marketable, and, in the long run, much less expensive.  So don’t fear that he is locked away at the seminary becoming stunted should he decide to leave the seminary.  In fact, he will take many classes at and receive his degree from John Caroll University.  Not bad at all.
Now get out there and tell someone you think is a candidate that you think them worthy to think about the priesthood!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  This week's quotes come from the St. Sebastian Chesterton Society's reading of the first half of "Manalive."  "The truth is that when people are in exceptionally high spirits, really wild with freedom and invention, they always must, and they always do, create institutions.  When men are weary they fall into anarchy; but while they are gay and vigorous they invariably make rules."
QUOTE II:  "And will you tell me what the deuce is the good of a jewel except that it looks like a jewel?  Leave off buying and selling, and start looking!  Open your eyes, and you'll wake up in the New Jerusalem."
Dixon Studios has a church salvage service.  One of the interesting things is that if they got it for free, they will pass it along to a good home.  (Church home that is.)  See more here.

Mary sent this in:  "Here's something you might like to add to Tuesday's blog, an official Vatican online book to commemorate the one year anniversary of Pope Francis's election as pope, with words he has spoken throughout the year, accompanied by photos. The phrases are each linked to the full text of the document from which they are excerpted."  Thanks.  Here is the site.
This week's video was sent in by Fr. McCandless, vocations director for the Diocese of Cleveland.  See it here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


The most remarkable thing happened this past Saturday night; too remarkable to make into a cartoon.  Fr. Pfeiffer and I went to go see a play in downtown Cleveland and when the play finished, we found ourselves in one of the very scenes of the play, unstaged, out on the street.
To get the incident, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the pertinent parts of the play.  It was a staged production of C. S. Lewis’s book, “The Great Divorce.”  The story is a Dante-esque journey of a bus load of people from hell getting the chance to see heaven and even stay there if they chose so, but who ultimately chose to stay in hell.  One man feels that his rights were violated by the mercy of heaven, a woman cannot let go of her control of others, one wants fame more than glory, one wants her version of love rather than God’s, and the list goes on.  In the end, these people chose hell as a favored place to be.
When the play let out, it was apparent that at least one other play had ended at the same time and so I suggested that we go across the street and get coffee and desert while we waited for the traffic to thin out.  We debated the play and the points made and then headed out.


Crossing the street there was a young man, (mid-twenties?) who turned to us and said, “Are you two priests?” 


“Yes,” I replied, and took off my glove and extended a hand.  “Hello, my name is Father Valencheck.”
He recoiled as if I were handing him a snake.  “No way!” he said, turned and kept on his way to the other side of the street.
Things such as this happen occasionally.  It is the sometimes blessing/sometimes curse of wearing one’s collar in public.  One learns to let it roll off.
As we gained the sidewalk however the young man turned back toward us and said, “You guys know, of course, there is no God.”
“Actually, I don’t quite know that at all.” I responded.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.  There is no God.  I know it.”
“And I would respond that there is one.  And I know Him.”

“You know what I believe?  Science.  Facts.  Not stories in a book.  Not people walking on water.  Not having to do good works that a God tells me I have to do to get into heaven.  It’s all silly.”
I will give this much to the young man.  He may have been willing to throw out comments such as this, but he was also willing to engage and have a conversation.  Many, if not most people like to throw a comment-bomb and run it seems.  I admire him that he would be willing to have a debate in the middle of the sidewalk in downtown Cleveland, late on a cold, cold night.
Everything in the objections-to-faith-including-the-kitchen-sink arsenal was hauled out and thrown at us.  It was like a game of dodge ball but instead of the two of us playing against one person, he was like a team against two!  Question from left field, point from the right, beaming ball right between the eyes.
The most interesting part of the conversation for me was toward the end.  “How do you determine the good?”
“We, each of us, get to decide for ourselves.” 


Fr. Pfeiffer, “And what if I thought it was right to take your life?”
Young man: “That would be wrong.”
Me:  “Good.  Then how is it determined that your good is better than mine?”
Young man:  “Look, if a guy killed five people robbing a bank, how could you say that that was right?”
“The crook would think it just fine.  He would have money he never had before and if not caught might have a lot more stuff than he did before.”
Eventually we got to this point: there is no ultimate good, no truth (unsubstantiated by facts) and no real purpose or point to life.  It is simply what you make of it and decide that it is.  And when death comes, its game over – end of existence.


“That being said,” added the young man, “You have to admit that religion is what causes all the wars and violence in the world.  Religion is what is wrong.”
“I would have to strongly disagree with you.  As a matter of fact, I would say quite the opposite in most cases.”
“It is religion that breads hatred,” he countered, “and violence.”
“And yet,” I replied, “when we were crossing the street, which of us took off his glove, extended a hand, said good evening and introduced himself, and who refused?”
At that, he broke out with a great smile, he shoulders relaxed, and he extended his hand.  “Sorry about that.  I think I needed to vent and you were here.” 
We learned then that his name was Mike and he turned out to be quite a likable fellow.  We parted on friendly terms and Fr. Pfeiffer could not resist turning back to him and saying, “Good night and God bless!” to which he threw up his hands and with a big smile shot back, “No, no no!”

Friday, March 14, 2014


Last week we bid farewell to Lumen Gentium thought there is an appendix attached to it.  If you are really interested in that, you can find it on line.

Today we embark on a new constitution from the Second Vatican Council: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.  The title is clear enough but it leaves something to be desired as a marketing gimmick.  The Latin title which we will be using is Dei Verbum.
In these introductory paragraphs it talks about God trying His best NOT to be mysterious.  God wants to be to you like a Father and not one that divorced your mother, got remarried, and now lives in another state.  It is intimacy with you for which He is looking.
From the very beginning, God walked and talked with us in the Garden.  He lavished us not only with life but with every gift.  It was not God who turned away from us because of sin, but we turned away from God.  Immediately Adam and Eve cover over themselves and hid.  That is what sin does, it causes division; division between us, between us and God, and even within ourselves.  And division does not do a whole lot of good for communication.  The whole Old Testament seems to be the story of God trying to break back into history, re-establishing communication and connection, revealing Himself to us so that we might know and love Him Who so loves us.
Revelation comes to us through deeds and words though it is the words that transmit that revelation to us by way of proclamation and Church teaching.  Finally the fullness of revelation came to us by The Word, God made flesh, the Son of God coming among us: Jesus Christ.  It is in Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit that God reveals Himself to us.  It is also in Christ, through the Holy Spirit that we return to the Father.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


There was no post yesterday because our Internet was down so today you get two!  This is the bulletin letter that my friend and fellow pastor wrote for this weekend's bulletin at St. Francis de Sales in Akron.  I think he loves Ireland and St. Patrick more than the Irish who actually live there.  He always has something interesting to say but this I thought was timely and relevant.  I hope you enjoy it and get something out of it as I did.  Oh - and don't tell your friends from St. Francis about this article until after the weekend.  They haven't seen it yet.  And now from Fr. Bline:
One of the most frustrating things for me at this time of year is watching how most of America has no idea what Saint Patrick Day means to the real people of Ireland. It has NEVER been about outlandish parades, tacky costumes or leprechaun decor, green beer or oh-so-misguided souls that want to start this holy day with "kegs & eggs." Oh, am I upsetting some of you? Good, then join my reason for why I think it is fitting for St. Patrick to celebrate his feast in the middle of Lent.
Now don't get me wrong, I rather like the fun that comes with the 17th of March. And, I can't say that my lips haven't felt the cool-warm foam of 119.5 second poured pint of Guinness (plus the top off time...not that I know anything about such things), but know what it is really all about...true freedom.

It is about Patrick's Lenten plea to return to the Lord, to ask God to create a clean heart in us, to be with family and friends at Mass at the very start of the day and to break bread at home in thanksgiving for God's love in your life. Am I too idealistic, too out of touch, and should I just go along with all the fun and stop being such a party-pooper (as some of my own friends have said)? I don't think so. I'm not saying it is a bad thing to laugh and enjoy the day with generous portions of cabbage and corned beef (or Irish bacon/ham if you're in Eire), black pudding and porridge, colcannon or parties, to lift up a foamy pint with friends, or to have a bite of our own Mary Patricia Nash Butke's perfect Irish soda bread (who by the way just got named the Hibernian's Grand Marshall for Akron's St. Patrick Day Parade). Just remember "The Bright Sadness" (as St. John Climacus loves to call this season, March 30) which is so closely linked to all the sacrificial love St. Padraig embraced and shared with the very people who he was called to serve and to save.
 Have holy fun and sacred celebrations this week with your friends and family, St. Patrick and St. Joseph (don't forget your St. Joseph Bread and Altar setup at home on the 19th). But however you enjoy it, remember now is the time to return to our Lenten vows and to make amends by taking care of those who are most in need. Síochána, Fr. Kieran Bline


A few years after having studied with him I went up to my philosophy professor (RIP) and said, “You know, I hated studying philosophy but now I see how useful it is and wish I had taken it more seriously.”
He got a weary but sympathetic look on his face and said, “I know.  The problem with philosophy is that it has a long fuse.”  By this he meant that you have to learn a lot of philosophy and live with it for a while before there is any kind of pay off.  Or, as the sign on my friend’s barn door says more simply, “Hard work eventually pays off.  Laziness pays off now.”

That is one of the insidious problems with good and evil.  Evil most often starts off at least feeling like a good but does its damage later, while doing good (like getting up early this morning in the what I hope is the last winter storm to go to the gym to work out) can start off feeling like a trial but then pays off.  Some of what lent tries to do is get us past that initial desire to enjoy sin and get over the initial hump of goodness in order to enjoy its benefits.  That is what God want for you.


Having the discipline to turn off the T.V. or computer and go to bed earlier so that you can be fresh in the morning to meet your day’s obligations is a good thing.  God wants you, as far as is possible, to have enough sleep.
Cutting down on your food intake if you need to so that you don’t feel bloated later is a good thing and what God wants for you.
Getting off of the couch and doing some exercise so that you feel stronger later and look better is not a selfish thing but treating the temple of the Holy Spirit the way it should be treated and is part of God’s plan for you.
Trying to make peace with others so that life is more enjoyable is part of God’s plan for you.  Having your sins forgiven so that you have a clear conscience is in his desire for you.  Expanding your learning to open you up to the wonders of creation is his gift waiting for you to open.  Even though it is not supposed to be the point, he gives you consolations when you work charitably for others because he wants you to know his love.  Taking some time on your own to pray quietly every day is not forsaking other duties but is as necessary as taking time to eat and sleep and is His desire for you.  Forgoing a good in the Lenten season is so that you might have a stronger will, greater discipline, more control and more freedom.  All these are His gifts and wishes for you.


Now get out there and RUMBLE! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "You're only a slave if you expect something from others."  from Arturo Perez-Reverte's, "The Fencing Master"
QUOTE II:  "If you don't accept people for who they are, you begin to have expectations of them."  Fr. Weigand

Kevin sent in today's video.  By the by, I won't be able to embed the videos until we get things worked out with our computer service at the rectory.  So here is the link to see the uncovering of murals at St. Aloysius in Bowling Green, OH.  If  you like the artist's work here and here are other examples. 
John Paul the Great Catholic University introduces the "Impacting the Culture Blog."  See more here.
This Wednesday (tomorrow) in the diocese of Cleveland we are having a diocesan wide "Night of Confessions."  You may go to any parish in the diocese and there will be confessions available from 5:00 to 8:00PM.  Read more and see a video here.
Adam sent this in and it is worth consideration.  Is creationism a by product of atheism?

Monday, March 10, 2014


This week's Monday Diary is probably going to be a less humorous than normal.  The story that I had been thinking about telling for a spell on second examination is probably one best forgotten by history so the "punch line" of sorts is cut off.
One of the great things about the St. Sebastian parish campus is the fore site of the founder Monsignor Zwisler.  Though the buildings went up over the course of about 30 or so years, it was laid out in such a way that the campus has a nice look to it.  It doesn't look like every so many years someone decided that another building was needed so the plunked another one down of the latest architectural style.
The campus is on 8 acres over three city blocks.  The zip code line runs down the center of the parish so you have to be careful when sending us a letter.
What makes the campus interesting also makes it difficult from time to time.  Those most frustrated are visitors to the parish.  Almost every summer, while outside doing something around the parish, I run into someone who looks something like this:
I cleaned it up a little for family reading.

Because of this we started a campaign a couple of years ago to place directional signage around the campus to help people navigate.  You know what?  Sings are expensive!  Nine signs have gone up so far (2 of 3 stages) and it seems to be keeping screaming banshees at bay.  And that makes for much more pleasant walks with the dog.

It also makes for a long walk if you have to visit someone in another building.  Only the strong make it from the church to donut Sunday.  The rest perish somewhere along the long trail from the church to Z-Hall.  Donuts go quickly too.  People work up quite an appetite taking the trek from one end of the block to the other.
We started the Lenten parish work out this morning.  I THOUGHT IT WAS FREEZING OUTSIDE and so didn't want to walk from the rectory all the way down to the gym in my shorts.  Having driven, considerable red hot coals have been heaped on my head for driving to get exercise when I live on the grounds.
You can tell when we have a substitute paper deliverer.  We can't find the paper.  It's here.  We just can't find it.  Usually a turn around the rectory and Church will local the errant paper.  This past week it was well hidden and I waisted a good part of my breakfast time scouting for it.
It was at the convent door, which, in retrospect, makes sense if one is unfamiliar with our buildings. 
One time I woke up in the middle of the night and looked out my window.  There were a whole bunch of policemen standing in the front yard of the rectory.  I got dressed and headed outside.  The officer said, in grave sincerity, "Father, I gotta tell you.  I like Protestant calls much better than Catholic ones."
Cautiously I said, "Uhuh . . . "
"We got a phone call that there was a door open here.  When we go to a Protestant church we usually only have to check one or two doors.  We've been here twenty minutes checking doors."
But I love it.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Granted, this was earlier on in the whole Vatican II frenzy and has (at least in my experience) largely passed, but for a while there was a strong push to rid the Catholic Church of too much Mary.  Statues were taken down or moved aside, devotions were cancelled, and songs not sung because Vatican II said we should stop focusing on her and solely focus on Jesus.
That’s what was said about Vatican II (along with a host of other things) not what Vatican II actually said.  (Thank goodness we seem to be recovering well from this misconception.)  In one of the Church’s constitutions, Lumen Gentium, (para. 67) it, in fact, says the Council, “admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially that the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered . . .”
Now what it did advise against is an extreme in either direction.  On the one end, we do not attribute to Mary that which is not attributable to her or does not point toward her Son (makes sense) especially when such false doctrine would cause scandal to our “separated brethren,” but neither should our attention of her grow sterile lest we miss out on her excellence as Mother of God and in her example of virtues.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Wouldn’t it be awesome to make $100 or $200 an hour?  As every couple of seconds float by, a few more dollars fall into your pocket.  I wonder how closely that kind of dough puts one to the 1%?
Now, suppose you make that kind of money, buy you only are only paid to work and hour or maybe two a week.  The rest of the time you are preparing for work and you don’t get paid for that.  And there is the chance that at times, there will be no work, and other times, inconveniently too much.  All of a sudden, even $200 an hour doesn’t sound so great.


This is the predicament of your parish organist – and here I am talking about a real organist, not someone who plays the organ (as was the case with me.)  In a parish with a well trained organist, the bench fee can be quite high and at times people bulk at it.  On the surface it does sound a little ridiculous that someone should earn such an outrageous sum, but you are not paying only for that one hour.  You are also paying for rehearsal time (so that the organist will play your chosen music well – as my Mother used to say, “If you don’t practice one day, you will notice it.  If you don’t practice two days, your audience will notice it.”)  There is also consultation time with bride and groom picking out the music that they want, the possibility of having to purchase new music and learn it, and partly you are paying for their years of schooling. 

About once a year someone will say to me, “the parish should really pick up the cost.”  Interestingly it is usually by people who do not contribute in the first place.  And there may be a point there.  (And we do if the couple is really struggling and cutting corners everywhere.)  But as a Church in general, we do not support our artists well.  Could that be the reason at the University of Akron there is only one organ major left and when he graduates they will be closing down that major as is the trend across the nation?  What will we do when the only person left to play your wedding is someone who took a couple of years of piano lessons when they were in grade school and will try to plunk something out for you on the organ?  Of course, then you can get by slipping the $5 under the table.
When you can, join me in supporting the arts and artists particularly as they pertain to the life of the Church.  Like a plant, if we do not nourish them, they will vanish and we will be less because of it.


See more here for one suggestion.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


As we begin our season penance this is just your friendly reminder that today is a day of

If you would like to know a little more about what that means here is a great website.

Want to go to Mass today?  The remaining Masses at St. Sebastian are:

9:00AM (with the school)
5:15PM (extraordinary form)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "There were only two sorts of women so perfervid in their devotions: madwomen and saints, nor were the two species entirely distinct.  One must be a little mad to be a saint, at least as the world measured madness."  from Micheal Flynn's, "Eifilheim"
QUOTE II:  "But poverty is not merit enough . . . many a gartner in his hut loves riches more than does a generous and open handed lord."  same source
QUOTE III:  "The rich man finds it more difficult to see Christ because the gold dazzles his eyes; but never forget that it is the man that sins and not the gold."  same source.
Matt sent this site in that shows you around the nook and crannies of Saint Patick Cathedral in New York.  Thanks!

From Michelle:  "EWTN is launching a brand new app to help you prepare for Lent – and it’s available now! If you download our free app and take our “Daily Lenten Scripture Reading Challenge,” at the end of Lent, you will able to say that you read all four Gospels! It’s easier than you think!  You can download EWTN’s free app at or get it directly from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon apps for Kindle Fire. If you already have the EWTN app, the Scripture Challenge is included with the update."
JP sent in this article concerning Rolling Stone's nine ridiculous statements about Pope Francis.  Read more here.  Thanks.
This is really, really cool.  Frank sent it in.  This site lets you keep track of the current location of the International Space Station.  You can then click on the map (unless it is over the ocean) and Google Maps will let you explore the area directly underneath.  Pretty cool.  Thanks.
This week's video is not a video - it's a pod cast.  You need not listen to the whole thing (unless you want to.)  The part I recommend starts at about 35:09 and goes to about 40:00.  The only thing you need to know (which I had to look up) is "what is a brony."  It is an adult that is a fan of My Little Pony."  Enjoy.  Go here.
Oh!  And happy Fat Tuesday!