Friday, March 24, 2017


Someone asked me the other day if one can accidentally marry someone: that is, say the wedding vows as part of a play, or the rehearsal, or joking around.  The question had to do with, if a sacrament has an outward sign that is efficacious, that is, it does what it says it does, then does the act of saying it make it come true?

Clever question - no.

Knowledge and consent are required.  

So is what you are seeing the real deal?  Just to clarify, the official witness of the Church will, following the vows, announce that you have declared your consent before the Church (using one of the formulas) and announcing the grand reminder, “What God has joined, let no one put asunder.”  One can almost hear the universe shifting.  A new, unbreakable reality has been created.  The course of history has changed. 

In Genesis, poor little Adam is all alone in the garden.  Adam, at this point, is not a guy by himself, he is what humanity was at that point: complete in this one person.  Then after being surrounded by all this life and beauty, he discovers that he lonesome.  St. John Paul II calls this the “original solitude.”  And it wasn’t good.  So God took from Adam, who was one, and created Eve.  Now man, who was one, is now two and incapable of doing everything that a human being is capable of doing until meeting up with a complimentary partner.  (It is only then that all of the equipment is united again if you will.)  That is why they become one in marriage.  They complete each other.  And once joined, they are never to be separated again.  

How amazing is this?  The entire face of the world is about to change.  If your parents had never met, you and your siblings would never have been born.  If your grandparents had not married, your parents, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces would never have been born.  One generation before the number is already become so great as to be difficult to comprehend.  Go back far enough (and probably less far than you think) and entire nations begin to change.  Marriage is powerful.  This service to which you attend at which someone with you has asked, “Do we have to go?” and then huff through it is altering the course of the world.  

So after the declaration is something that I like but find difficult to do in practice.  This is new.  Immediately after this the celebrant sings (or says) “Let us bless the Lord!” to which ALL present are to respond, “Thanks be to God!”  This makes absolute sense.  We have just witnessed something awesome and we should sing an acclamation.  The problem is nobody is ready for it, has practiced it, or is looking at a program.  Even die hard Catholics who come to Mass every day are often have brains that shut down during a wedding and have to be reminded, “Let us stand now . . .”  And it kind of takes the punch out of it if you have to explain too much.  “I am about to say, ‘Let us bless the Lord’ and your are going to respond . . .”

Our Cathedral has a decent way of handling such things.  We will have to find our own way.  I sometimes poo poo such things with, “Well, THAT will never work.”  But I’ve also been wrong about that plenty of times.  Maybe this will become so common that it will even be used in movies as readily as “speak now or forever hold your peace.”

God is ironic.  It could happen.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


When I was first ordained, my first trip was to Slovenia in order to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving with my family in my grandparent's home village.  One of the things that I really wanted to do was go to visit the place where the sacramental  records were kept for the parish in order to trace back the family history a bit.  That is when we encountered a strange discouragement for doing so from family members.  There seemed to be a general, "You can't get there from here," or "the road is closed for construction."  Of course, in my head I am thinking, "There's got to be more than one way to get there," but there was also some language barrier issues so we let it go.

Then at the dinner after the Mass, my cousin handed me a wrapped tube.  I opened it and there were photocopies of our family records going back to the 1800s.  That was wonderful.  I still have those records.

Today I spent some time signing our sacramental books at St. Sebastian, putting my name next to the records of those who were baptized or married by me.  These records are meant to kept forever.  What a terrible loss if there should be a fire and they are not well protected!  Even in a closed parish, the sacramental books are taken someplace in the diocese (the parish with which it was merged or perhaps the archives of the diocese) so that they may be preserved for posterity.  

What a thing it is to think that, perhaps in a couple hundred years, someone might open these books that I scribble in today to do research on their family line . . . 

That is why we talk about Catholics having a permanent record.  Every time you receive a sacrament, that information is sent to the parish at which you were baptized.  So always remember where you baptized!  Your whole sacramental life is recorded there!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


It's been a busy couple of days and I've not had a lot of extra time to post.  But today is my (supposed) day away and I thought would spend a little bit with you sharing some of my favorite recent photos.

This is my absolute favorite.  Fr. Bearing Gearing at St. Adelbert has had the good fortune to be a mentor to Deacon Eric Garris who is slated to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland later this year.  They teach you an awful lot in 9 years of seminary, but feeding yourself, doing your laundry, and mending your clothes are not among the topics taught.  So when the deacon's button popped off, the good father said, "Come here son.  Let me show you how to sew on a button."  This is what priestly fraternity is all about.
Lucky for him I wasn't the one tasked with showing my sewing skills.  The results would have been less than satisfying.  On the outside it looks Okay, the inside threading would look like vandalism.

The next picture is not new and has shown here before but I like it.  It is of seminarian David Stavarz at his home parish of St. Francis de Sales.  There is so much peace in the picture.  Everything outside of this frame may or may not have been flying apart, but here there is peace.
This picture appeared this past week on the St. Anthony Parma Facebook page.  It reminds me of the recent post that said, "It's good to have friends who don't have beards.  That way, when you go out, everyone will assume that you are their leader."  The "leader" here is Fr. Kovacina who was once at St. Sebastian.  This will confuse someone who one day will be going through the archives trying to place pictures in chronological order.
Finally I had my phone with me one day when Sebastian was making a snow angel.  Now that I look at it again, maybe it is more of a snow ameba.  
Two days ago, one of our secretaries came into my office and said, "Father, there is a priest with another gentleman walking around the church."  Not expecting anybody, I went over to see what was up and indeed there was a priest (on his day away) with a friend who stopped by St. Sebastian to visit.  They are close to St. Agatha in Upper Arlington (see HERE) which was also designed by Mr. Robert Krause.  Apparently St. Agatha was the precursor to St. Sebastian and they wanted to do some comparisons.  Here is the facade of St. Agatha.
Here is the facade of St. Sebastian with some interesting similarities.
Notice, in particular, the ceiling and the pews.  At the top is St. Agatha and the bottoms is St. Sebastian.

It is not easy to see, but the metal grillwork over the pipes here is exactly the same as the wooden grill work at St. Sebastian (not pictured.)

Friday, March 17, 2017


Fifi, I think that you are the grooviest girl ever.  You make me so happy that I have decided that every day I want to wake up and see your beautiful face.  So I ask you to be my wife, like, unto forever.”  

These are vows that you wont hear at a Catholic wedding.  We would consider these better for a toast at the reception perhaps.  There are some specific things that constitute a marriage in the Catholic Church that would vary from the state requirements or that of other faiths or even the intentions of the couple.  That is why we had all this brouhaha making absolutely sure (as much as possible) that this couple knows what they are getting into.  Let’s take a quick look at the vows:

There are two sets of vows put forward in the wedding ceremony.  Each of these two sets of vows can be exchanged four different ways:  1) They may repeat them after the priest. 2) They may give consent through questions (the priest asks, “Do you take . . .” to which they respond, “I do.”)  3) They may memorize them (I have had only 2 couples do this in 18 years) or 4) Read them from a prompter.

The first set of vows is the “all the days of my life.”  Two minor changes were made.  The first is “I will be true to you” has been changed to, “I will faithful to you”.  The second is making the vow a single sentence instead of two sentences. 

The second set of vows is the “till death do us part.”  I like these ones better but the vast majority of couples do not.  There is one added, clarifying phrase.  Just before death doing them part was added, “”to love and to cherish.” 

There are a couple of interesting things to note about these vows.  (Probably a lot more - but these two will do.)  The first is that the priest in the Roman Rite is not the celebrant of the sacrament of matrimony, the couples are the ministers.  The priest is the official witness of the Church.  Way, way back in history one didn’t need the priest to get married.  (There are some extremely rare exceptions to this day that this are still possible - but none of you will qualify I dare say.)  Almost everything the Church does is because at some point there were abuses.  So now we just say that you must have a priest as a witness to the exchange of vows.

Secondly, there is nothing contained in the vows stating what it is that you expect from the other person.  That would steer us toward a contractual marriage and an exchange of services (such as one receives from the state) rather than an exchange of persons making it a covenantal marriage.  You can demand services from someone (a contract) but you can’t demand that the other person give themselves to you (a covenant.)  We enter in to marriage to serve.  If both persons are true to the covenant, then, of course you will be loved in return.  And our goal is to have two persons radically engaged in ministering to and loving each other (not trying to draw love out of the other person.)  It is our model for civility in general: That we be 1.2 billion people engaged in being of service to each other rather than being 1.2 billion people demanding to be served by everybody else.

Note that about marriage - that it serves as a model for the community.  It is also why marriage belongs to the whole community, not just the couple getting married (and why it is important for you to celebrate your 25th, 50th, 60th anniversaries publicly.  Your witness is needed!)  It is why we ring the steeple bells before a nuptial ceremony:  It is a public event.  And as the couple is to be a witness to love in the world, the community is to be a support to those engaged in living out their vows.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


The patient is unable to speak for herself.  You sit devotedly by her bedside in the hospital.  Four hours and forty minutes ago the doctor, after first expressing his sympathy, informs you that he believes that she only has 5 hours to live.  

You have been devoted throughout this long sickness, making sure that the best of care has been given.  It wasn’t as though this was an accident and everything moved so quickly.  And now you are coming up on the end of your duties.  Carefully you gaze at you watch.  In five more minutes it will be time to call the priest to get him here right at the end of her life.

Except that it is Saturday afternoon.  You are calling the third parish.  The secretary at each place apologizes profusely but the priest has gone over for the vigil Mass.  “I will try to catch him as soon as he gets back,” she offers.

This may sound a bit silly but it happened twice this last month.  When we had so many priests that they were coming out of our ears and some were standing around on Saturday afternoon with nothing to do, this might have worked out well.  In fact, there may have been a priest assigned to the hospital full time.  But not so today.  

Imminent death has not been a condition for the anointing of the sick since the council of Trent.  Vatican II changed the name from extreme unction to anointing of the sick to try to get this point across more clearly.  To avoid the above scenario, consider having the anointing done when it is needed for the comfort of the sick or terminal patient.  There is the possibility for a much happier ending to this story if a call is made to the rectory and it is said, “The doctors don’t think she’ll live out the week” rather than, “They don’t give her past the next hour or so.”

Please tell you family and friends.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "'Something like an addiction to addiction plays a roll in all addiction . . . Addiction itself . . . is tempting; it has many attractive features.'  In an empty world people have a need to need."  Christopher Caldwell quoting Francis F. Seeburger in the April 2017 First Things article "American Carnage"

QUOTE II:  "In addiction, as in more mainstream endeavors, the lords of hedonism are the slaves of money."  from the same article


Last Wednesday northeast Ohio looked like this with Sebastian and Addicus playing in the pond:
 Six days later it looked like this:
Apparently what the second graders told me yesterday (honestly, I never heard this before) is that putting your pajamas in the freezer and flushing ice cubes down the toilet (difficult to do when you have the water saving kind) causes snow storms.  To them I say, "In MY day we just prayed for snow (the 1970's) and we had LOTS MORE days off than you!  Take note!"  Happy snow day everybody!

Don't miss this Wednesday when there will be confessions at all Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland from 5 to 8PM.  If it is still raging outside come!  It will be warm and the lines shorter! 
Also tomorrow, St. Sebastian pre-school and kindergarten will have an open house:
There will be a fantastic concert this Sunday at St. Sebastian.  One of the featured pieces will be dueling organs!  Free and open to the public.  Here is a chance to enjoy some beauty during our Lenten season:

 Deacon Terry Peacock will begin his Lenten Mission NEXT Tuesday at 7PM in the Church
Make plans now to catch Fr. Orndorff, pastor of St. Joseph at the next Theology on the Rocks.  Get there early.  Last time we were sold out even before the doors officially opened!  Fr. O is entertaining no matter what he is talking about.
If you want a more spiritually intense concert for Lent, mark your calendar for April 9th at St. Sebastian for the "Seven Last Words of Christ."  Free and open to the public.
Due to high winds and power outages, the last Theology on Tap Akron had to be cancelled.  There will not be one April due to Easter.  But mark your calendars now for the May 10th return of ToT Akron with, "Growing Up Catholic: Catholic Adulting."
Somebody, I won't say who, had a significant birthday last week.  If you stop by her office I think you will figure it out.  Happy Birthday!
Matt W. sent in a picture of another great priestly beard:

This is pretty cool:

Sunday, March 12, 2017


So as you know I have a dog named Sebastian.  I've written a lot about how much ministry he does around here.  There have been meetings where people have said, "Father I was so nervous coming in to speak with you, but your dog came and sat by me and I knew everything would be Okay."  

Mostly those stories are still true.  But things have changed.  For example, when I have a couple in for marriage prep and we sit at my desk, it used to be that Sebastian would sit quietly at my feet on my side of the desk.  This is not longer the case.
And as Sebastian gets older, he's starting to make noises like an old Norwegian farmer bachelor who never had anyone living with him to tell him that he was starting to make strange noises that, in his youth, he was savvy enough to keep to himself or at least for when he was alone.
He has taken to making these moaning noises.  Think of a five-year-old who is board out of his skull and has just sat down on the living room couch and as soon as backside hits the cushion you say, "Help be bring in the groceries."  Mooooooooooooooan!

If Sebastian is inconvenienced in anyway, he does not politely move out of the way, he moans as if the world is so self centered and impolite as to not let him sit in the most inconvenient spot possible.

Then as we move along, he will fold himself into what looks like a black meatloaf with some  random appendages sticking out and start slurping at himself.  Not a nice polite kitten-like cleaning of cute little paws but more like a pig at a slop fest.
That's when you KNOW he is a lot smarter than he lets on.  THIS is why he now sits on the other side of the desk now.  Before I could lean down, stroke his head and quietly say, "Sebastian, stop it," and he would.  But being on the other side of the desk, I am completely helpless.
But inevitably the couple will politely say, "Oh that's Okay.  He's just fine and so are we."  I know - I KNOW - I KNOW I should escort him out of the office but if I stand up to do so, one or the other will say, "Hey Father, I grew up with dogs.  It's Okay.  Leave him where he is."


Then we will get to the most sensitive part of the night's discussion.  Things very intimate and serious.  And just as I get to the most touching, beautiful, holy part there is new noise.  It's hard to describe.  It started a year ago.  It is difficult to describe accurately save to say it is very, very loud.  I am not quite clear how it is accomplished.  I know it demands a tighter meatloaf-like position and involves a moan to get there.  He kind of vibrates when he makes it.  And the sound . . . there is definitely some element of slurping, something that sounds like someone giving you the raspberry, a bit of snorting, and dash of honking noises.
Of course, that is when I lose it.
But couples who are getting married are crazy happy and unperturbededly polite and pretend that nothing is going on.  And I feel poorly.  It's my bad.  I should know better.  But I appreciate their understanding. 

Friday, March 10, 2017


Enough with all of the preparations, clarifying of conditions and examination of intentions.  Let’s get on with the actual wedding already.

The priest says, “Since it is your intention to enter the covenant of Holy Matrimony (almost asking the question one more time this is your intention isn’t it?) join your right hands and declare your consent before God and His Church.”

Did you ever ask yourself, “Self, what’s up with the joining of right hands?”  Well I have.  Why not join both hands?  Why not left in right as they stand next to each other?  Why not join left hands since that is the hand on which you will wear your wedding ring?  (More on that later.)  Why join hands at all?  Why not just stare at each other?  

So I tried to do a little research for you.  (This first part is my opinion - nothing that I discovered about Catholic symbolism.)  I suppose some of it is that it is further and intense clarification.  It seems more than with any other sacrament, we have a desire to be extremely precise with matrimony.  “Who is this person going to marry?  Why the one whose right hand is held.  Can’t mistake that one.  That guy is definitely not accidentally getting married to the lady in the front row.”

There is a lawyer in the parish who joshes me about being so precise about things.  Even with the Eucharistic Prayer, I am very conscious about making eye contact with the species that is about to be consecrated.  (This is not in the rubrics.)  So when consecrating the wine, at some point I will glance at all of the chalices on the alter.  I just find this mindful.  I am not intending to consecrate the loaf bread you happened to bring in on your stop at Acme No. 1 before coming to Mass.  So could this holding of right hands have this precision in mind?  Everything the Church does seems to always clarify something that someone in the past has misunderstood.

The little bit that I could find is that it could possibly have pagan origins.  This will send some people over the edge.  “See that?!?!  The Catholics are doing something that pagans used to do!  That proves they are following Satan!”  As if a pagan cannot be baptized for the glory of God.  Not everything pagan was evil or bad.  They had some awesome ideas.  I mean, ancient paganism (not the knock off excuse for paganism modern forms are) gave way to Christianity.  These guys were not completely off track.  

But I digress.

It was part of more ancient ceremonies that hands were bound.  The hand clasp is an ancient sign that an oath is being engaged between two parties - marriage being one of them.  This is the serious moment.  We are done talking and negotiating.  It is obvious that the couple is aware of what is about to take place with this formal gesture in front of these witnesses.  Even if you cannot hear it, you know that this is the moment of truth.  It is the right hand that grasps the hand of the other, not a weapon or any other such thing.  You are the one to whom I am about to give myself - in a way that has been done since even before Christianity though now the gesture is baptized for us.  This seemingly inconsequential action is so ancient, so recognizable, so ingrained into our culture and humanity, is so heavy with tradition, that it is even announced, “Join your right hands and declare your consent before God and His Church.”  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


CANCELLED EVENT:  The Winking Lizard had to close its kitchen and has no water and so is unable to host Theology on Tap Akron tonight!  Please let you friends know!  Keep an eye out for future events!  Sorry for the inconvenience!


  1. Guest blogger:  Bernard A. Smith, of St. Sebastian Parish, Akron, recently retired after serving over  three decades as a federal prosecutor handling organized crime, public corruption, labor racketeering and appellate cases. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton in 1979 and a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1982.   
When Pope Francis spoke before a joint session of Congress in September 2015, he urged that the death penalty be abolished throughout America, a request with which one might presume a career prosecutor would disagree. Such an assumption would be incorrect, however, for Pope Francis’ request of Congress did not merely express a personal policy preference but was firmly grounded in Church teaching. As the State of Ohio contemplates executing condemned criminals for the first time since 2014, understanding why capital punishment cannot be morally justified is of paramount importance. Indeed, rather than tolerating executions, the citizens of the State of Ohio should demand that the death penalty be abolished. 
American criminal law traditionally has recognized a necessity exception to the prohibition against intentionally killing another person, taking several forms: (1) self-defense when faced with imminent threat of deadly force, (2) defense of a third person faced with a similar threat, and (3) soldiers in combat facing an armed enemy. To this list during the colonial period of our nation’s history might be added capital punishment, because secure prison systems had not yet been invented.2 As secure facilities to imprison the most dangerous offenders did not exist, public executions were thought necessary both to incapacitate dangerous criminals and to deter others.
Today, any issue concerning lack of adequate prisons has disappeared, as both federal and State prison systems contain maximum security facilities to incapacitate murderers and other violent offenders. This fact makes a definitive moral difference, as articulated by Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae, which defended the inviolability of human life. Discussing capital punishment, Pope John Paul stated:  “It is clear that…the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity:  in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (emphasis supplied).4 The Pope then declared that “if bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means….” (emphasis supplied).5 The mandatory character of the latter statement is unmistakable. 
In short, according to Pope St. John Paul II, the moral test of strict necessity governs when even a murderer may be executed and, because of security enhancements in modern prison systems, the set of offenders who must be executed in order to protect society is functionally a null set. Under modern conditions, therefore, capital punishment cannot morally be justified under the strict necessity test, a standard which helps to protect the bedrock principle that a person’s right to life is inviolable.
After the publication of Evangelium Vitae, the discussion of capital punishment in the Catechism of the Catholic Church was revised. Now, paragraph 2267 of the Catechism says that the death penalty may be imposed, “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” It incorporates Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching that if “non-lethal means” suffice to protect society, then “authority will limit itself to such means” (emphasis supplied).7 Paragraph 2267 then concludes:  “…the cases in which the execution of the offender is absolutely necessary are very rare, if not practically non-existent” (emphasis supplied).8 In light of the Catechism’s teaching that, as a matter of practical reality,  circumstances in which capital punishment could be permissible do not exist, imposing the death penalty cannot morally be justified. To the extent that our legal system permits capital punishment, it is morally flawed. 
Other considerations also undercut any moral basis for capital punishment. In the Supreme Court’s 1972 splintered decision in Furman v. Georgia,9 which temporarily invalidated the death penalty nationwide, the controlling three-Justice plurality variously found that capital punishment as then administered was being imposed in an arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory manner largely because a jury’s discretion to impose it was unfettered. The death penalty was revived, however, only four years later in Gregg v. Georgia,10 where the Court approved a capital sentencing scheme requiring a trial bifurcated between guilt and penalty phases, lesser included offense instructions where applicable, a jury’s finding of at least one aggravating factor beyond a reasonable doubt, the weighing of mitigating factors against any aggravating factor(s) and  appellate proportionality review in relation to similar cases. In sum, a jury’s discretion concerning the death penalty would be guided by legal standards. The implied premise underlying Gregg is that the courts are capable of ensuring that a capital sentencing system will function fairly.11 
Forty years later, however, the data demonstrates otherwise. A 2005 study conducted by the Associated Press found that, in Ohio, a defendant who kills a white person is twice as likely to receive the death penalty as a defendant who kills a black person.12 The organization known as Ohioans To Stop Executions has reached the same conclusion.13 Even more sobering, the final report of the 2014 Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty cited an ABA Ohio Assessment Team study indicating that offenders who killed white persons were 3.8 times more likely to be sentenced to death in Ohio than those who killed black persons.14 Racial disparity in capital sentencing based upon the race of the victim has been found in numerous studies conducted in other death penalty states as well.15 And, Ohioans to Stop Executions has found that “two-thirds of all Ohio murder victims are people of color, yet in 2013 three out of four new death sentences were for the murder of white people.”16
Imposing the ultimate penalty—death—based upon the race of the victim is inconsistent with the concept of equality before the law. Nor can this practice be squared with the basic principle that all human beings are of equal, infinite value before God. When the death penalty is imposed far more often against killers of white persons than against killers of minority persons, then our society has concluded that it values the lives of white persons more than the lives of minority persons because it systematically imposes a harsher penalty when the right to life of a white person is transgressed. The statistics show that murdering a white person effectively is regarded as a more serious offense than murdering a minority person because the consequences of killing one versus the other systematically differ. Such systemic racial discrimination inherent in the capital sentencing system must be condemned as morally bankrupt. 
Adding further moral weight against using capital punishment is the reality that the death penalty is sometimes imposed upon innocent persons. According to criteria established by the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1976 there have been nine exonerations of defendants who were sentenced to death in Ohio alone.17 “Exoneration” means that all charges against the defendant ultimately were dismissed, that the defendant was acquitted at a re-trial or that the defendant was pardoned based upon substantial evidence of innocence. No system of justice worthy of the name can tolerate not only the possibility that innocent persons might be sentenced to death, but also the established fact that innocent defendants have actually been sentenced to die, including in Ohio. 

In sum, the death penalty does not satisfy the moral test of strict necessity and is imposed in discriminatory fashion despite four decades of judicial effort to render the system fair. The citizens of the State of Ohio should conclude that capital punishment can no longer be tolerated because it is fundamentally indefensible and should demand its abolition. 

  1. added above
  2. Banner, The Death Penalty:  An American History, p. 23 (Harvard University Press, 2002). 
  3. Ibid., pp. 10-13.
  4. Evangelium Vitae, para. 56. 
  5. Ibid.
  6. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 2267.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. 408 U.S. 238 (1972).
  10. 428 U.S. 153 (1976).
  11. Lazarus, Closed Chambers:  The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court, p. 117 (Penquin Books, 1999).
  12. Akron Beacon Journal (May 7, 2005)(reporting the Associated Press study). 
  14. Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty, Final Report and Recommendations, April 2014, Commentary to Recommendation 29.
  15. Lazarus, Closed Chambers, p. 168 (summarizing the results of the famous Baldus study in Georgia); see generally, Bedau, The Death Penalty in America:  Current Controversies, pp. 29, 271 (Oxford University Press, 1997).
  17. Details about Ohio’s exonerations are reported at

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


FINDNG TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "How humbling it is that the Father who made the trees and the animals, the world in all its wonders, the universe and all it grander, our galaxy in all of its majesty, and the cosmos in all of its beauty, thought that all that needed one of me."  This is not a direct quote - it was part of a talk by Chase Bills (St. Sebastian Parishioner) for the First Friday Club of Greater Akron.  Perhaps it would be more fair to say this is the way her comment stuck with me rather than a direct quote.


If you are interested in hearing more from the First Friday Club of Greater Akron, go HERE.

Sr. Maria Anna Melody wrote in to say, "I am writing you today to invite you to a superb grace available  through a series of radio shows available on this website through Radio Maria.  Mother Jacinta Miryam gave a 4 months weekly radio show about a small booklette written by Pope Leo XIII called Practice of Humility.    This booklette was given to Mother when she was a brand new Sister.  The Holy Spirit spoke to her very clearly about the meaning of humility at the beginning of her religious life."  Find out more HERE.

You can print the booklet for yourself HERE.

I was caught dancing with Fr. Pfeiffer's Mom at our last concert:

Concerning yesterday's post:  Kevin sent in this picture of a truly epic priestly beard from the days of yore.  AWESOME!

Christopher P. puts our homiletic podcast together.  Recently he sent in this information that I found interesting:

Here we go….
401 people have listened to the St. Sebastian podcast.

Top 10 Cities
1)      San Francisco, CA (?)
2)      Akron, OH (?)
3)      Chicago, IL
4)      Barberton, OH (this is not me!)
5)      San Jose, CA
6)      Houston, TX
7)      Singapore, Singapore
8)      Ashburn, VA
9)      Cuyahoga Falls, OH
10)   Hudson, OH

Top 6 Countries with number of downloads 
1)      United States 305 
2)      India 33 
3)      Singapore 15
4)      Sri Lanka 13
5)      United Kingdom 8
6)      Puerto Rico 5 

Most listened to homilies
1)      1/22 St. Sebastian Feast Day Homily (Fr. V)
2)      2/6/11 Fifth Sunday in OT (Fr. V) Your “Spices from Barberton Chicken at the Slovene Center” homily from 2011… When you’re on vacation or when the recorder craps out for whatever reason, I listen to the homilies from the same week 3/6 years ago so I can get a homily from the same readings.  I pick them because they’re my favorite, or to get Deacon Terry up there occasionally or something.
3)      2/13/11 Sixth Sunday in OT (Fr. P) For Catholic Charities week, I put up an old Fr. Pfeiffer homily for variety. 


2,083 downloads of the homilies

All time most listened to pieces….
1)      4/28/16 – Fr. Kovacina’s Mystagogy speech at Faith Lodge.  This has been downloaded almost a hundred (!!!!) times.  (92)
2)      6/16/16 – 13th Sunday in OT (Fr. V) – This was your “Ring the bells after the Cavs win” homily.  Also, I see what page directs people to the homilies, so I can see whether they come from or iTunes, or wherever… this one was directed to most from your blog (13 times) (77)
3)      4/17/16 – 4th Sunday of Easter (Fr. V) – I didn’t label this one… I’m listening to it now... This was your homily recalling a bit about your vocation story, and Catherine Paparella taking you to an Extraordinary Form Mass.  It seems to be Vocation Sunday?  I didn’t know we pre-empted an Easter Sunday?  Now I do. (64)
4)      7/31/16 – 18th Sunday in OT (Fr. V) – “Poverty is not Holiness” – Your diaconal retreat to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Center… but the real homily was a bit here on a drug user and a Christian Counselor… who turned out to be a wrong number. (63)
5)      12/11/16 – Gaudete Sunday/3rd Sunday of Advent (62)

If should want to listen to a homily today, HERE is where you go.

Well . . . there does seem to be a Lego craze as of late . . .