Friday, February 12, 2016

GUEST BLOGGER - ANOTHER PATHWAY

At various times on this blog we have talked about how to obtain art.  Yesterday was a focus on going to galleries.  An Anonymous commenter sent in the following addition:

As an artist, I have to comment. Every artist starts somewhere. There are art leagues and clubs in nearly every city and county. Nearly all of these groups have at the very least, annual shows of their members' work. These artists are the 'roots' of the artist's life and work. This is where you find the up and coming. This is where to actually meet the artists closest to their own elements. Look in arts section of your local newspaper or on line. You can find a small show most any weekend. In our area most of the openings are on Friday evenings. That is when to go--the artists will be at the receptions, and we love to talk to someone new about our work. The work will be impressive, affordable, and you might even get a glass of wine. Don't just support the arts, support local arts.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

SAVE CIVILIZATION - BUY ART

You want to start influencing our culture by supporting artists but you aren’t ready to commission a work yet.  Maybe you are more interested in purchasing a painting already produced.  That is also very helpful.

A good first step is visiting galleries.  This can be intimidating at first.  Depending on where you go there may be a certain “snooty” atmosphere.  Other places are very welcoming.  

RULE NUMBER ONE:  Do NOT be intimidated by the snooty factor.  You have every right to be in the store.  That’s what it is.  A store.  But because they sell art they call it a gallery.  Conduct yourself (and your children) as you would in a museum and you will be fine.

RULE NUMBER TWO:  Do NOT be concerned that gallery owner is following you around at a polite distance.  You will find this at museums also.  This is in order for the gallery owner to protect his art and to be ready at hand should you want to ask a question.

RULE NUMBER THREE:  Do NOT be intimidated by sticker shock.  It is going to cost more than you hoped.  Some things are just going to be ridiculously out of your price range.  STILL LOOK!  It is still there to be enjoyed and for you to see what is being produced and to refine what you like.  (And more expensive does not necessarily mean better.)


Lots of things can happen here.  Twice now I’ve met artists doing this.  Once was with a painting that was so far out of my reach as to be ridiculous.  Getting to know the artist and telling him what I liked about the painting (but with the forewarning that I was NOT going to buy it) he was able to produce something for me closer to my comfort level (price wise) and we have had a good relationship ever since.  Once I just plain met an artist and his story about his background and the about the painting just led me to buy it.

RULE NUMBER FOUR:  It’s Okay to be “Just looking.”

RULE NUMBER FIVE:  Some galleries carry new artists that are just getting started.  The have not fully matured yet but their work is very promising and much more affordable (or you just plain like it.)  That is why visiting galleries is valuable.  You get an idea of artists, prices, and what an individual gallery carries.  (Some are just always ridiculous.)

RULE NUMBER SIX:  Don’t invest in paintings like stocks and bonds.  You most likely will lose out.  Buy it because it is art and you like it.  And like wine, don’t say you like it just because somebody said you should.  (Be open to appreciating the work, but that is different than liking it.)  My mother had a secret love for wine others considered low brow.  But you know what, when she drank it she was happy.  Get the painting you want to live with.

RULE NUMBER SEVEN:  Don’t buy it because it’s “pretty.”  Ask yourself what it means to you.  How does it speak to you on a deeper level?  How does it make you feel?  Does it spark memories?  Does it resonate with something you believe in?  Is it “different?”  What does the artist, in your estimation, seem to be doing?  What was the artist’s technique?  Does that strike you as fascinating?  Do you hope that more of the type and subject of painting that you purchased will be produced?  Especially in this last point - if you don’t like it, don’t support it.

Determine as much about the painting as you can in your own mind before asking about it.  The gallery owner or the artists may have insights incredibly different than your own.  Once they tell you theirs, yours may be gone lost forever.  

RULE NUMBER EIGHT:  Walk away.  Buy it tomorrow.  See if it still calls to you after you leave.  This has worked tremendously with me.  Only one time did I ever look back and regret not buying a painting.  (20 years ago.)  It was in Hot Springs Arkansas.  Gosh!  I liked that painting and would like to have it to this day to share with others.  But . . . whatever.

RULE NUMBER NINE:  Have things in mind such as how large of a painting you can accommodate.  I made a fatal error once.  I have a painting too big to hang.  Something will done.  I have ideas.  But for now . . . hmmmmmm.

RULE NUMBER TEN:  Don’t be talked into something you don’t like.  The person doing the talking doesn’t have to live with it.  But DO spend some time with things and try to understand things that you don't like.  It can be fun and enlightening like eating your broccoli that later you discover you like.


RULE NUMBER ELEVEN:  Have fun.  Enjoy this.  If you are getting too tense walk away, shake it off, get a cup of coffee, and come back when you are in a better state of mind. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE "GAME"?

When your parents told you, “You are not wearing THAT to (Mass, school, the party, court,) it wasn’t that they were trying to stifle your creativity or diminish your being, it was because they understood that our presence among other human beings is not all about you.  How you dress also says something about what you think about other people.  

So you go to a job interview.  I WILL GRANT YOU that the possible future boss should only see the interviewee for his talents and capabilities.  That, in a perfect world, if he came to the interview for a sales position in ratty sneakers, a concert T-shirt, and mussed hair it shouldn’t matter.  It is the person who matters.

But it does.  And the message cuts both ways.  In a perfect world, we would also all respect each other.

The message the person in this scenario is putting forth is “You and your job are really not all that important to me.  I may not be all that reliable and I may not respect you all that much.”  It is for similar reasons that a suspected murderer on trial is dressed up in the most conventional of clothing - a dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes.  It (attempts) to scream, “I respect these proceedings, I respect the judge and jury, I am taking this seriously, and see how respectable I look.”

It isn’t all about the person wearing the clothes, it is also about what that person is saying  about the people around him or her.

It is for similar reasons I am disappointed in Cam Newton.  I understand that he is extremely disappointed and heartbroken.  I understand his emotions perhaps got the best of him.  But if I was his Dad, we would be having a “Come to Jesus” talk.

“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”  Well, there is an obvious truth to his statement.  But show me a sore loser and I’ll show you someone who should be sent to bed without his supper.  Men have lost WARS AND NATIONS with more dignity than Mr. Newton.  This was a football game.  If we lose the idea that these men are there for than to play a game, if we give up on the idea that they are also there to set an example, to show us why we should be promoting sports in our schools and among our youth, if we throwout with increasingly greater ease the ideals of sportsmanship, gentlemanliness, honor, dignity, and care about “the other,” then stop the game.  It has gone on too long and we have forgotten why we started “playing” in the first place.  It isn’t all about the football players.  It is about those for whom they play too.

Compare that to this letter from the St. Ambrose basketball coach that describes an incident that happened with our seventh grade boy’s basketball team.


To the Players, Parents, Parish, and community of St. Sebastian,

Yesterday the St. Ambrose boys basketball team played your young men in a hard fought and well contested game. During the contest, one of St. Ambrose's players fell to the ground. ALL FIVE of your players walked to the aid of my player to help him up. Your young men lived the prayers recited before and after each game. By their example they taught my team and the entire gym how to "teach our faith to others by our actions".

These young men deserve to be commended for their strength and courage to "finish the race". Playing with only five players due to injury and illness, they competed to the very end. They played fair and strong through all four quarters. Again your team lived our prayer by "playing fair" and taking on the "challenge" of this game.

To your players and Coach, I want to thank you for teaching myself, my team, and my community the lessons we repeat before and after each game. With strong, courageous, and faithful young men on your team, I am positive the future is bright at St. Sebastian. Please thank your team, your parents, and your community for teaching our Catholic faith to these young men. You are all doing a great job as evidenced by them.

Gratefully,
Craig Tobias
St. Ambrose 7th grade boys basketball


Compare that to one of Mr. Newton’s comments excusing his behavior: “If I offended anybody that’s cool, but I know who I am and I’m not abut to conform nor bend for anybody’s expectations because yours or anybody’s expectations would never exceed mine.”  That would be disappointingly unacceptable even for a 7th grade boy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXXV

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered."  G. K. Chesterton

QUOTE II:  "An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."  same source

David Stavarz, a seminarian that many a Sebastianite would recognize as he has spent some quality time around the parish (though he is from the venerable parish of St. Francis de Sales,) wrote a great article for the Word on Fire blog.  Read it HERE.  I beehive the picture of him at the bottom of the article is from the bell tower at St. Sebastian.  Good work kid!



I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the newest member of our priestly community.  Below you will see a picture of Monsignor - not the enamored guy you see who has obviously fallen deeply in love but the black lab puppy in his lap.  Congratulations parish of St. Joseph!




Sharon sent this in - how to make a clarinet out of a carrot.  Cool, but I don't see me letting our school children do this.


Then there is this: the Super Bowl 50 Baby's choir.  I watched the Super Bowl with a bunch of priests so when the commercials come on we rate them not only for enjoyment level but to Catholic standards such as "Wow, that was pro-life" exemplified in the Doritos ultrasound commercial.  I had mixed feelings about this commercial however.  On the one had, yeah, we're celebrating the birth of all of these babies that were conceived during - well - a celebration.  But having kids singing about their parents . . . celebrating . . . is that just a TAD creepy?  Or am I just jealous because there has never been, nor does it seem there ever will be a Cleveland Super Bowl Baby?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUCIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: PROOF OF AGE

So my formerly known as DRE (Director of Religious Education) now know as my PCL (Parish Catechetical Leader) or Pickle and I went to a diocesan meeting.  At it, a representative from a diocesan office informed us that there were materials to take home to our parishes from the diocese and that it would save the diocese A LOT of money if we would just take them home with us instead of them having to mail them.  

The meeting went longer than we had anticipated so we needed to sneak quietly out.  At the back of the meeting room we loaded up our arms with the materials to be taken back to St. Sebastian.  They were right.  Mailing this stuff would have cost a small fortune.  It was awkward balancing everything on our walk out my car and it was only when we got close to my car that I realized I had made a tactical  error.
The only thing to do was to try to shift everything over to one arm and knee in order to dig into my pocket.
Of course.  Right?  Murphy's Law and all that?  So everything is shifted to the other knee.
So you get the ritual . . .


Two and half hours.  Says something for that neighborhood that nobody took an abandoned, unlocked, running car.  Or it says something about my car . . .

Friday, February 5, 2016

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: THE POWER OF WORDS

Okay, I lied.

This is one more week of Offertory.  Paragraph 77

*sigh*

The good news is that this is absolutely, positively the last post on it in this series.

Offertory concludes after everything in the previous posts has been completed and the following prayers are said.  The first one used to give me the willies.  It is introduced thusly:

“Pray brethren (brothers and sisters) that my sacrifice and yours may be may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father.”

To which everyone responds:

“May the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His Name, for our good, and the good of all His holy Church.”

Now, imagine that you are a young guy just ordained, the oils are still wet on your hands, you’ve arrived at your first assignment, the pastor pushes you out on the altar and says, “Go at it kid,” and you hear that prayer.  I remember distinctly when that happened to me.

The year was 1998 and I was assigned to St. Ambrose in Brunswick.  A couple of seminarians showed up to help me with my first Sunday Mass.  The first Mass on Sunday was music free and many people attended that Mass because of that.  I tried to make them sing an opening song which as an absolute disaster and apologized and promised I would never do that to them again.

St. Ambrose is one of the largest parishes in the diocese and the size of the building reflects this  so there were a lot of people of all ages at that Mass.  We got to the prayer above and I hear, “at your hands,” and “for our good,” and had a slight panic attack.  

Just because you are ordained doesn’t mean that you “get” being a priest yet.  I also remember walking past windows as a newly ordained and being surprised to see the Roman collar, or walking into a restaurant and wondering why so many people were looking at you.  “Oh right, I’m a priest.”  So when you first start hearing this prayer you want to shout out, “What are you people thinking?  Are you insane?  Why are you trusting me with this?  Last week I was just a guy from Barberton.”



Even today I don’t listen to that prayer too closely.  In the end, I know it is not ME.  It is the priesthood and Christ.  It is my job to be faithful and let God act.

Alright, most of that was NOT in this paragraph.

But one last thing is:  We have the prayer over the gifts: a petition that God accept our gifts and the work we are about to do.  This is where (once again) the vital role of the priesthood of the faithful comes into play.  By your “Amen” at the end of this prayer, you make its petition your own as part of your offering.  It is not an inconsequential word or a simple nicety.  It is an engagement of your ministry.  It is very much a responsibility.  By it, you are participating in the sacred action, making an offering of your life, prayers, and petitions, and promising to engage in the rest of the Mass and in the life of a Christian.


That “Amen” alone should cause you to pause in much the same way the “for our good” does for your priest.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK

Here is what I was able to pray with 350 children this morning:
“Set our hearts aflame, O Lord,
with the Spirit of your charity, we pray,
that we may always think thoughts
worthy and pleasing to your majesty
and love you sincerely in our brothers and sisters.”

IMHO those three seconds alone are what makes Catholic education invaluable to our nation.  That is not to say that public and secular schools cannot instill character (the public school down the street claims to do just that) but it is a lot more difficult if you don’t have a community agreed upon (and legal) moral system that you can teach.

Our public schools are not atheistic (nor are they in some sort of neutral state - that is impossible) but I think about the atheistic mindset and atheistic apostles.  An atheist can state what I said above about living charity and finding dignity and worth in his fellow man but in the end, it will only be a “good” because the speaker says so and that he was the power to enforce it.  (The school board and the Supreme Court says that I can say this!)


WARNING: This is coming out of the mind of a committed Catholic so there is a biased slant here.  But I think about what, if atheists got together every Sunday for an hour (or Friday, or Wednesday) what would they talk about as a replacement for worship of God?  If there is no God, which, by definition means there is no purpose or meaning for us or the universe, if everything is just chance and once we die there is no more life, no reward, no punishment, then every word that comes out of my mouth is completely useless unless it brings me comfort.  (Even helping someone else in the end is because it benefits or pleases me.)  If you are going to challenge this, please give the basis for your universal moral system that is employed other than in a might makes right scenario.  I would greatly appreciate it!
The only grounding for any moral system would only be the will of the majority or the powerful who have the backing to enforce the moral right.  Anyone who would get up in the “pulpit” would have one of two jobs: reminding all their duty to follow the will of the powerful or to convince everybody to change to their idea of the good to what they want.  But in the end, none of it will matter except to please the speaker.  The great consolation will be, in the last second of life as you realize that you are heading off into oblivion for all of eternity, that at least you were right in believing life is meaningless.


Champagne anyone?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

CONSISTANCY

This is a short excerpt from this past Sunday's homily.

Last Thursday night we had a Parish Council meeting and somebody asked the question, “Is our parish seen as a place where a family contemplating seeking an abortion might come to seek council?”

Wow, what a question.  It made me stop and think.

I looked up some surveys online and the general gist is that women who have had abortions say they didn’t approach fellow church goers or their pastors because they feared they would be looked down upon.

Wow again.  That kind of stings.

As a Church we provide help for those experiencing unexpected pregnancies.  Parishes raise funds for and volunteer at pregnancy clinics.  We provide resources and counseling for those who choose life.  As a Church we provide counseling for mothers who had abortions and who are now grieving.  But in the very teeth of this action, can we love as God chooses to love us even with all of our faults and failings?  Whereas we can ever approve, assist, or give permission for this drastic act, can we none-the-less be seen as non-condemnatory and loving to the point that someone so desperate that they are contemplating having an abortion may see each and every one of us as a person to approach for prayer and guidance?


To lead them back to the God who loved them even before they were knit together in their Mother’s womb?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXXIV

HAPPY CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK!

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  Teaching is a gesture of serial non-abandonment."  from Richard Ford's, "Canada"

IN OTHER NEWS:

The Academy of Culture and Arts at St. Sebastian has a new website.  Please give it a look!  Click HERE or go to sebastianarts.org.

Now, if you are wondering why we are putting so much effort into this Academy, you really, really need to see THIS LINK to a video of a TED talk about the Sistine Chapel.  It almost had me in tears.  Thanks Jim for sending it in!  About 17 minutes.  "Ultimately, it is beauty that will save us."  Fr. Benedict Groeschel.  

Speaking of art, a couple of us guys went up to the Conversion of St. Paul Shrine to see the completed first layer of Mother Mary Thomas' painting, "Mary, Mother of the Eucharist."  She now just needs to put the final oil coat on.  Keep going Mother!  




This really should have been posted yesterday (for reasons that become evidently clear within the first 3 seconds of this song) but David didn't send it on time.  For shame, for shame.  Enjoy it just the same!  Approximately 4 minutes.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUCIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.

Another danger in being a guy and never being married is that, unless you were a cook in a working life before ordination, your kitchen skills pretty much end at a college level.
I used to argue at the seminary that they should have classes on such things as cooking.  And if you see what horrible things happen when I am in charge of laundry, it might not be a bad idea to a class on that too.
We are extremely, wonderfully, absolutely blessed to have a small army of people who cook for us at St. Sebastian.  I know, I know, I know - believe me my Father used to read me the riot act.  I should grow up and take care of myself.  But if I were left on my own in the wild, every meal would consist of a salami sandwich.
A seminarian came over recently and gave me a dressing down for having some meat in the refrigerator that was ending its life span before he left after Christmas vacation.  I pointed out to him that we were still well within the 5 week rule.  He kindly pointed out that it is actually a 5 day rule.  Who knows this stuff?
Anyway, shouldn't microwaves kill anything bad?  Nothing goes through a microwave and lives.  Right?

Friday, January 29, 2016

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: DID YOU GET UNDER THE FINGERNAILS?

Paragraphs 75 & 76

These posts offertory are starting to feel like 7th grade - it just goes on and on and on . . . 

But I an determined to be quit of offertory TODAY.

There are two last things, the second, in my estimation, being more interesting than the first so we will finish with the bang and start with a yawn.

I

I like incense.  If I didn’t like making the distinction between big celebrations and “ordinary time” celebrations so much (since we no longer have high Mass and low Mass) I’d use it all the time (which may certainly be done.)  On St. Sebastian Day, after an entire Christmas season of using incense, a man at the back of the church said, “I’m glad we are going to be done with THAT for awhile!”  

I understand.  I really do.  But I can’t seem to help myself.  Some day I’ll explore all that in a post.

There is a lot of history and symbolism involved with incense, but the reason everyone present (in addition to incensing the altar and the gifts) is thusly clouded in smoke is because of their exalted status in God’s Kingdom.   “The Priest, because of his sacred ministry, and the people, by reason of their baptismal dignity” all relieve this treatment.  (Notice even those in RCIA who are [supposed to be] non-baptized are excused before this point.  If RCIA is being done “according to the book,” baptized non-Catholics need not leave.)

II




Next involves the Lavabo or the washing of the priest hands.  Oh!  This is one of those topics on which we waisted WAY too much precious time in the seminary as a professor justified his reason for dumping the little ritual claiming that it was a left over from medieval days when people would donate animals and vegetables to the priest at offertory and the priest’s hands would be dirty and he needed to wash them.

Now, it is true that this is a ritual that was considered to be dropped, but recent popes including Francis have defended this action while noting that it is both ancient (the formula goes back to apostolic times according to Tertullian which greatly predates the medieval period though it was not practiced universally) and that the symbolic value is just far too great.  Read more HERE from the Vatican website.

At this point in the Mass we are about to head into the holiest action of our lives on earth - the source and summit.  As the water is poured over the fingers that will be touching the host, the priest says, “Lord, wash away my iniquities and cleanse me of my sins.”  

A couple of things to note: that it resembles Pilot’s action, it has no connection whatsoever.  That it is a part of the Seder meal or even that it comes from Psalm 26, “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, Lord, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds,” is not officially claimed.  In the end its greatest strength is in the priest’s ardent desire to be purified before acting on behalf of the Body of Christ.

At some point we must remember that we (priests) are called to obedience.  That does not mean that we can’t argue and petition against something, but this is not a democracy, this is not “our” Mass, and we are not free agents.  It is good to remember the passage (Mathew 25:21), “His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’”

If your priest skips this part however, please don’t worry.  The Mass is NOT invalid - illicit perhaps - but not invalid and that is a HUGE difference.  

But it would just be sad to not be able to use this joke anymore:

A server showed up late to serve Mass and the celebrating priest was upset with him because this was not the first time.  The priest pointed to the door and said, “Leave!  If you can’t be on time I’ll just do this myself!”


The server looked up at him and said, “But who will wash away your iniquities and cleanse you of your sins?”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

WHEN DEATH IS BORING

Don’t worry - there will not be any spoilers beyond the obvious in this post.

So recently I viewed another extremely popular movie and was left a bit empty at the end.  I enjoyed the movie even with some of its more than obvious flaws, and people are praising it for its handling of mercy and vengeance . . . but I think . . . eh.

Here is why:  My cousin once said to me, “The worst thing you can wish on anybody is that they learn.”  That is, what a terrible thing it is to discover that your actions that you formally thought of as justifiable or even good are suddenly revealed to you to be abhorrent.  It is like waking up the next day after tying one on and realizing that you had been an absolute jerk to everyone and thoroughly embarrassed yourself.  Now you have to live with it and clean the whole mess up.

Hollywood, for the most part, does not operate that way.  What is the ultimate payback?  Death to the bad character.  The evil one goes around creating havoc and destruction and then, at the end, usually at the hand of the good guy, the evil guy is destroyed in some gloriously colorful fashion, (usually to rise again after not being thoroughly killed, only to be killed again - not unlike Saint Sebastian.)  




The mentality in this thinking is rather medieval.  There was the practice of not permitting someone who has committed a rather heinous crime the sacrament of confession.  The thought was that, not only will they be punished in this life, they will be punished for ever in the next because they were never able to confess and receive absolution.  It was thought to be the ultimate of ultimate punishments though, as you and I know, the theology has more holes in it than a window screen.
In Hollywoodland, there are two rare exceptions to this mentality.  One is a superhero villain that must live because he needs to come back for a sequel.  The other is the even rarer case of someone coming to grips with either how evil they are and find they have to change, or have to face the consequences of their actions such as in the movie The Shawshank Redemption when the antagonist that *ahem* took advantage of the main character was beaten to a pulp because of what he did and would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair sipping his steak through a straw and knowing it was because of his own inappropriate (to say the least) actions.

So the bad guy gets blown up - lassered - shot - crushed - vivisectioned - WHATEVER - so what?  It’s just over.  There is no horror of realizing the depravity of their actions, there is no guilt, there is no consequences to be lived out, nor is there any chance of redemption (which is part of the reason we are generally opposed to the death penalty.)


I would like to propose that, except in certain cases, this “easy ending” to a movie is neither beautiful nor satisfying.  It is unimaginative and unedifying and the story teller does not give the viewer anything to use, process, or contemplate.  It points to nothing and in the end is selfish.  “We don’t have to share the world with that creep anymore.”  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BE BEAUTIFUL OR DON'T BOTHER

Late last year there was an episode of This American Life about Christmas that I found so touching that I used it extensively in my Midnight Mass (at midnight) homily.  You will not find it on our website where you may find the rest of our homilies.  The recording device was not set up properly that night.  There is a rough written out version of it just after Christmas here on Adam’s Ale if you are interested.

There is a part of that show that I didn’t have a room or time to share and it was one of the most important pieces.  I have been holding on to a scrap of paper on which I transcribed this wonderful insight looking for a use for it.  But it really only works as part of the whole.  So here is what I am going to do:  First I will quickly give it context and then give you the quote that explains what I think is the only way the Church in the United States will start reaching others again and is the theory behind the way I try to lead this parish.




First the context:  The Columbian government hired an advertising firm to try to get gorillas in that country to lay down their arms and bring peace to the country.  Over the years, the firm realized that they were most successful at Christmas time.  So they focused on Christmas over the next few years with different and extremely successful campaigns.  One year they made thousands and thousands of softball sized globes that glowed purple and contained little gifts or word of encouragement and let them go in the jungle river at night where they would float by the gorillas who found them and having been move by them found led of the soldiers to demilitarize and go home.

Now the quote:

“Everything you do needs to be beautiful.  The only element we cannot lack is beauty.  Make sure you like what you are seeing.  You cannot do ugly stuff.  When you see all these lights floating down the river - floating down toward you - you cannot escape the thought that this is a beautiful thing.  

“Regardless of what it is - how beautiful is it?  Because if it had been a thing that was not beautiful, I probably wouldn’t have looked at it.  I probably would say, ‘This is trash floating down the river.’  But if it is a beautiful thing that’s coming down - it’s coming down in numbers - then I’m drawn to it - I’m interested.”    

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

GUEST BLOGGER - THE GREAT HIGHWAY BLIZZARD SNOW MASS OF 2016


Sue read with interest one of the articles in today's post and kindly allowed me to reprint some further information she had on the great Highway Blizzard Snow Mass of 2016.  Thank you so much!  How amazing!

Thanks for sharing the photo of the blizzard Mass. My husband was on a bus with the Students for Life and Newman students from UA (his bus was cancelled, but the students knew my husband from St. Bernard and the K of C so they graciously welcomed him to their bus - he and the driver were the only geezers on board!)


They left (for) Washington at 2:30 PM on Friday, stopped in Breezewood PA for a quick meal and gasoline around 6:30, and promptly got stranded between Bedford and Somerset PA around 9 PM Friday night, along with miles of other buses, cars, and trucks. Saturday morning, they got word that there were five priests in surrounding buses who were going to concelebrate Mass at noon. Students from the vicinity got together and built the altar of snow. Fred and the UA students were fortunate to be near the front. He says there were hundreds of people in attendance! It was beautifully and reverently prayed, and Jesus was definitely there in the blizzard with them!



Meanwhile, all of us at home (Secular Franciscans, St. B prayer chain, St. B Divine Mercy Cenacle, parents, friends, and our good parish priests) were praying our brains out. They only had a few granola bars and bottles of water between them, but they remained in very good spirits and made themselves useful by helping to dig out cars. They were a real joy!



For whatever reason, the PA troopers told their driver to get on the narrow emergency lane they had plowed for police vehicles and EMS and exit to US 30 around 9 PM on Saturday night. After passing many vehicles that were ahead of them, they exited and made their way beyond the blizzard. They finally got home at 2 AM on Sunday morning, and were very happy to see St. Bernard and UA at the end of their long journey!



God is very good! 

If you want more news on the even and to see a short video go HERE.

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXXIII

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Most things don't stay the way they are very long.  Knowing this, however, does not make me cynical.  Cynical means believing that good isn't possible; and I know for a fact that good is.  I simply take nothing for granted and try to be ready for the change that's soon to come."  from Richard Ford's "Canada"

QUOTE II:  "I'm intrigued by how ordinary behavior exists so close beside its opposite . . . Some people want to be bank presidents.  Others want to rob banks."  same source

IN OTHER NEWS:

What do you think of the white background?  I have no idea how that happened.  Such is the case with most of the changes on this blog.  All of a sudden the header is smaller and I don't know why.  It really is time for a makeover but I barely have time to make a post most days.

A couple of people sent a news item in about busses on the way to the Right to Life March in Washington D.C. sidelined on the highway because of the weather and the students creating an altar out of snow and having their priests say Mass for them.  (Let me guess, you didn't read about this or ANY news about the Right to Life March in your local newspaper even though hundreds of people from this area go.)  Read more HERE.

I walked into the office of St. Sebastian's Academy of Culture and Arts and saw a small army of mountain dulcimers.  "How funny," I said, "Someone just sent me a video of someone playing a dulcimer."  Turns out that the two are connected.  The instruments were donated by the person who sent me the video to give me an idea of what they are.  Now you can know too!


If you want a digital copy of our diocese's new magazine go HERE.

Ed sent this video about our society's crisis concerning masculinity.  For example:  "By the time a boy turns 6 years old he will have spent more time watching television than with his dad for his whole life."  Ten and a half minutes.