Saturday, May 31, 2008


Hope you are enjoying your Sunday!


"From the time of the first apostles up to our own day, men and women have heard the resounding call of the Master, “Follow me”. This dynamic program features priests, nuns, and religious discussing how they responded to that call, and what it has meant for them to let go of the world and live for Christ alone." This is about a show on EWTN which, Adoro tells me, is on at 5:00AM! Too bad! But it sounds like somthing to investigate for those of you discerning a vocation.

Habemus Papem sent this over about a new blog! "I am a newly ordained priest in the Diocese of Cleveland currently serving at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Parma, OH." Congratulations Father and good luck and God's blessings on your blog!
Adoro also says go here to MSNBC and vote and mess up their expected results for a call for women priests in the Catholic Church.

Jay is blushing from excitement that Catholic Carnival 174 is up!

Frank sent this in. Up close you see Einstein, but step back (and squint) you will see Marilyn Monroe. Sort of.

Friday, May 30, 2008


I would be most excited if anyone gets the title of today’s post.

Today we have a look at the candles that are lit at the altar for mass. These candles are not optional and must be lit before the mass begins. Once again, they represent Christ who is the Light of the World and also add “reverence” and “festiveness” to the celebration. The GIRM does not prescribe of what materials these candles may be made as it did for the Sanctuary Lamp, but the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops have. They must be made of wax and expressly banned are imitations candles, “forever” candles, electric candles, and interestingly if I read it correctly (you can check it out here) candles used for devotions (vigil candles) are likewise banned. Here’s the rule: in the interest of symbolism and authenticity it must be a wax candlestick. Period. (I wish we could do the same for “fake instruments.” But that’s just me.)

The “mass candles” must be in direct relation to the altar of celebration. That is, one cannot be placed by the altar and another dramatically on the steps, and another by the ambo, etc. . . They are to be on or near in the altar so that the connection is clearly seen (and also so that the view of the people is not obstructed.)

There is no longer a rule about how many candles there should be beyond this: There are to be, “at least two in any celebration, or even four or six, especially for a Sunday Mass or a holy day of obligation. If a diocesan Bishop celebrates, then seven candles should be used.” (GIRM 117) Note that the wording of the GIRM is very deliberate. Words like should are not picked lightly. So two is the minimum. But seven would be simply swell and preferred if the bishop were present, but if you cannot swing it, Oh well.

Before the reform of the liturgy the rules were a little more stringent but as you can see they are quite relaxed now though many people still employ the symbolism: 2 for daily mass, 4 for Sundays, 6 for major feasts, and seven for when the bishop comes a calling.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


This is being written about 7:00 on Thursday night and Fr. B. just called and had this story about which I had forgotten. He said, “About an hour from now ten years ago tonight I came to your room at the Seminary and stood in your doorway. You said to me, ‘Are you going to come in or not?’ And then we prayed together that we would be able to sleep well that night as in the morning we were heading off for Saint John’s Cathedral for our priestly ordination.

May 30th, 1998 at 10:00AM in the morning my classmates and I pictured here walked down the aisle for the laying on of hands and invocation of the Holy Spirit that we might be priests of the Holy Roman Church of Jesus Christ. And so far the hears have simply flown by. The best evidence that that amount of time has actually slipped by is my continuing retreating hairline and my tax records. Just last week I was out with Frs. B. and W. and in awe we stated how fortunate we are to be priests and how we cannot believe more guys do not want to do this. What a joy it has been to serve Him.

There is so much that I would like to say, but it all pales next to, “Deo gratias!”



The Computers are back up but I do not know for how long! Here is part II of yesterday's blog.

I started going to Church, although I don't remember going to Confession. I ended my career in child care for a 'real job' at (name of company removed). I found new friends, many of whom I still keep in contact. This continued for 6 years as I was slowly rebuilt. But God knew I had to get out of Columbus in order to continue my spiritual growth. The company was bought, divided, and pieces-parts sold off. the new parent comapny then crashed into a financial tailspin, caused by the upper management. Many of us lost our jobs. I moved to Cleveland to live with family and collected unemployment checks - a very humbling experience.

I would walk to church for daily and Sunday Mass and would often talk with Fr. M. and other parishioners. I was being drawn back to the Church. I finally landed a job, bought a house a year later, and registered at a parish.

I remember my first confession in years... the night before I happened to turn on EWTN. Fr. Corapi was talking about sins and the 10 Commandments. Within an hour I discovered that I sinned against every Commandment...some multiple times! That night I made my laundry list of sins and went to the Cathedral that morning. I walked into the Confessional, knelt down (actually hiding from the Priest because I couldn't face anyone with these sins!...even God), and wept! In between the tears, a sin would be voiced, and a kleenex box would appear from the other side of the screen. I don't remember what my penance was...I just remember hearing 'that was a good examination of conscience' and 'I absolve you from all of your sins'. I was walking on clouds when I left the Confessional! Mass was amazing that day! I had never felt so close to our Lord.

I started going to Adoration and soon signed up for a weekly Holy Hour. I read the Bible, books on Saints, Epistles, prayer books, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all provided by the parish for their Adoration Chapel. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I found Pierced by a Sword at home and started reading. I remember my mom telling me about it and highly recommended the book but I had always ignored the hint...until now. I couldn't put the book down! I think I read it cover-to-cover in a weekend! This book changed my life! I felt myself being called closer to God but unsure in which direction.

After reading an article on Spirit Daily, I did some research on becoming a Consecrated Virgin. I emailed the Associate Pastor at the parish but never got a response and soon he was transferred to another parish. I started talking with friends about people they knew in a religious life. I visited Shrines and other Catholic Churches around Cleveland. I also researched St. Maximillian Kolbe, Militia Immaculata, and emailed the Diocese about the process of becoming a Consecrated Virgin.
The yearning for our Lord was growing stronger. I consecrated myself to Mary through the Militia Immaculata in September and found a Militia group on the west side of Cleveland and started attending the meetings. We prayed and studied Will to Love, daily reflections by St. Maximillian Kolbe. I felt drawn to St. Max and discovered that his feast day and my birthday were the same day! What a blessing!

I still heard nothing from the Cleveland Diocese regarding becoming a Consecrated Virgin, so I figured this was not the route our Lord wanted me to take. There was an ad in the bulletin for a Scott Hahn Bible Study on Mary and joined that with my parents. For the next 10 weeks my parents and I went to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine on Sunday nights to study our Heavenly Mother. I got to know some of the Sisters at the Shrine - they all seemed sane - not at all like Sr. Patricia.One of the Sisters asked me what I wanted out of a religious vocation. I had never thought about this. So I did some additional research and started making a list. From what I discovered, there were many orders that were not following the Magisterium - this was a must for me. So I then started revising my list in to the 'Must-haves'. When I was finished, there were 3:
1. Must be fully habited, including the veil. If I was going to join a religious order, I wanted people to know.
2. The Order must be faithful to the Magisterium, Teachings, and Traditions.
They also must have a Charism of the Most Hly Trinity, Mary our Heavenly Mother, and
3. Apostolate of Education.

This narrowed my search quite a bit - especially the full habit criteria. I discovered that most of the orders that do not wear habits also do not follow all of the Teachings & Traditions of the Catholic Faith. Now I had to decide what type of Order I was looking for - monastic, cloister, charity, service, etc. Monastic and Cloister were eliminated quickly because my vocal ability is lacking tonality and my ability to be silent was hindered by my ever-running brain to which I must then voice my thoughts.

I talked with several Orders and visited several communities in the Cleveland area. I researched my criteria on the internet and found 3 Orders that I was deeply interested in:
The Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity, Euclid, OH
Society of Our Lady and the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), TX
Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
No matter which Order/Community I visited, I was always led back to the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity. Although all of the other Orders are remarkable and the Sisters, amazing, I felt at home with the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity. This is where God has been leading me...this is where He is asking me to call home.
If you have any questions or thoughts for L.M., especially if you are contemplating a religous vocation, please feel free to contact her through this site.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008




Those of you who have been around for a little spell know that L.M., a regular visitor on the site had decided to join a religous order. She recently shared he story with me and said that she would like for it to be shared in the even that it could assist someone else. Here is part one of her vocation story:

Although the title above sounds a bit 'schoolish', I have been asked by several people for my vocation story. And since I also have to write it for my application to (the religious order she is joining), I thought I would write it here so my family & friends could read it as well.I can't say it's always been my dream to be a Nun. Growing up I thought I would get married and have children like my parents. God, however, had other plans for me - in fact, much better plans!

I went to public school through most of 7th grade so my memories of Sisters is limited during this time. I think I remember seeing them sporadically in Church - I remember the stories that my mom told me about growing up & going to a Catholic grade school, but I did not have this experience, at least not until the 8th grade.

I do have to say that my school-age memories of the Sisters were not very encouraging toward a religious life. We moved to Georgia and we went to a Catholic grade school. Sr. P., my English teacher in 8th grade, used to tell us stories about how she taught Moses to speak English. She would also sit behind her desk during independent study time and play tic-tac-toe with her feet. How she lost to herself, I'll never know. In 9th grade, I had the greatest Sister! She was in a non-habited Order yet she was a whiz at Geometry & Algebra. It was through her (and my 8th grade math teacher) that I fell in love with the math-sciences.

Just before 10th grade, we moved to Ohio. I had two former Nuns for teachers at the Catholic high school - one for English and the other for Religion. The Religion teacher was always trying to be 'hip' with the students, but not succeeding, and the English teacher talked in such a monotone that it was difficult trying to pay attention. Not very good role models.

It was on the campus of Ohio State University that I found myself drawn to a religious order. Sr. F. and Sr. M. worked at the Newman Center, just off campus. We would often talk about their decision for religious life, their discernment, and their love for our Lord. They seemed to have it all together and did not live within their communities, although they would often talk about going back to visit. I became more involved with the Church - EMHC, Pastoral Council member, TNT (Tuesday Night Together) Student Representative, RCIA Sponsor, and CCD Teacher. The more I became involved, the more I yearned to know more about our Lord and Savior.

After thinking about this for awhile, at least a couple years, I decided to let my mom know about my decision. We talked for hours. She asked me a question: "Are you wanting to join a religious order because you are really interested or because you are running away from dealing with the abuse.

For 10 years, starting when I was 7, I was molested by some of my cousins. It started innocently but when I told his father, my uncle, about the incident, he laughed and said his sons wouldn't do anything like that. Major blow to a little girl who trusted her parents when they told her that if something should happen, tell an adult, they'll believe you & they'll take care of it. I did, he didn't, and the abuse continued. It wasn't until the night before I was to leave for college that I told my parents about the abuse.

I couldn't answer my mom's question. Was I interested? Was I running? I decided to put off any thoughts of joining an order until I could answer this question honestly and without hesitation. At OSU I had gone to several student councellors - most of whom did nothing to heal the pain. After a year, I stopped....I was all 'talked' out. I needed something more. But now it was a couple years later, I was out of school & in the 'working world' and decided to try it again. I went to several counsellors, psychologists, and therapists during the next few years, most of whom did not help, some may have done more harm than good had I continued the sessions, and one who wanted me to be angry with my father & bring a teddy bear (which I did not own) to the session. That counsellor did not last long!

I soon found myself falling away from the Church looking for any type of healing. I rarely attended Mass. I bought many 'self-help' books and hung out with some interesting friends. These friends led me to psychics, reiki, tarot cards, and other alternative methods of healing. The annual "Light Expo" was also on my calendar. The only two things I refused to try were witchcraft and oiji boards because they scared me too much. The 'healing' sessions became more frequent and yet I never felt happy nor healed.

The healing, God's healing, started one weekend after an extremely busy and tiring week. I was so frustrated with life, myself, and God, that I decided to 'tell' God what I really thought. Little did I know He was listening. I told God that I was tired of my life. Tired of feeling so down, unhappy, and just plain tired! Something needed to change and I told Him to change it. That evening, my mom called to see if I was coming up for the weekend. I hadn't planned on it but a weekend with family sounded really good and relaxing...something I really needed. I packed my bags Friday morning so I could leave immediately after work. The 3 hour drive was very relaxing.

When I arrived at my parent's house, their Bible Study was just ending. We all chit-chatted for awhile until someone, I think it was my mom, asked if I wanted to be prayed over. Hesitantly I accepted, unsure of what they were going to do to me.Quickly they rearranged the room, sat me in a white wicker chair in the middle of the room, and surrounded me. I closed my eyes because I really didn't want to watch...for fear of what was going to happen. I felt their hands on my shoulders, head, arms, knees, and someone was holding my hands. All of a sudden they all started praying, loudly! Then different languages were heard even louder. I wanted to bolt! Every once in awhile I'd hear my name or 'healing' or something in English...but not very often. Although I was apprehensive, I felt at peace when everyone had finished. I couldn't explain it nor did I really understand.Matthew 18: 16-17 "Again, (amen) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

About 3 months later, I got a phone call from my mom telling me about a man (not really a pyschologist) who taught mind/body awareness specifically for abuse victims...and was located in Columbus. A year of therapy, self-defense, and mind/body awareness, all in a safe environment, led me through the healing of my 'inner child'...and the beginning of my spiritual healing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND - "The first question Negroponte asks of a development like virtual reality is whether there is a market for it. If a market exists, someone will inevitably exploit it, so it's pointless to ask, 'Do we need this?' or 'How might this harm us?' "the consumer" is a cheerful omnipresence in Negropante's book, a most-favored arbitrator." From Johnathan Franzen's, "The Reader in Exile"

QUOTE II - "Nobody is a total loss. They can be a bad example." Source unknown


The Plain Dealer reports this week that the city of Cleveland wants to take control of the chapel at the airport because it is too Catholic. A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union Christine Link, said of the chapel, which the diocese spent $300,000 to renovate and who also pays rent on the space, that it is not vague enough to be on public property. "I remember going in and seeing this man hanging on a cross and thinking, 'How nondenominational is this chapel?'"

Friday, May 23, 2008


A little silliness for your viewing pleasure.

Agent $0.07



Thievery upon thievery! This too was stolen from Fr. S. who is celebrating 4 years a priest! Congratulations!


With a proud tear in his eye, Jay announces the birth of Catholic Carnival 173!

The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter provided us with this article by Bishop Lennon as we enter into ordinary time.

Catholic .net is largely a directory, with news stories from Zenit and National Catholic Register.

Do you want to do some serious Catholic research? Here is the place to go. There is so much here it is almost overwhelming!


Continuing our discussion on candles.

The Sanctuary Lamp is found by the tabernacle and indicates whether the Blessed Sacrament is present or not. If the lamp is lit one should genuflect before the presence of Jesus. If the lamp is extinguished and not, presumably, merely burned out, one bows before the altar, which then becomes the primary symbol of Christ in the sanctuary.

This lamp burns perpetually and is ideally fueled by olive oil to adhere to the mandate in Sacred Scripture, “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel. (KJV)” (Exodus 27, 21-22.) It seems that most parishes however simply burn wax candles. The burning of an electric light or a gas light is expressly forbidden. Usually there is one candle burning (our tradition has it shine through red glass, but that is not mandated) though there may be more candles. They should always be of an odd number however. (1,3,7, etc.) Before the more recent major renovations of the Cathedral of St. John in Cleveland there were seven Sanctuary Lamps around the tabernacle. One remains today. The picture with this article is one of the lamps that used to hang there but now burns before the tabernacle at the Church of Saint Clare.
An “eternal flame” of sorts has always been a sign of vigilance and honor. Just think of the Eternal Flame for a Fallen President at Arlington National Cemetary. Additionally, this flame not only informs us of Christ’s presence but also symbolizes Christ the Light of the World as all candles in the sanctuary do. Or rather - should do.



Suppose your wife came up to you and asked you to take a pill for her. These are the common side effects:

Weight gain
Skin problems
High Blood Pressure
Loss of Libido
Urinary Tract Infection
Gum Inflammation
Can Trigger Asthma
Decrease Your Ability to Ward Off Viral Infection

Here are some less common effects:

Blood Clots
Heart Attack

Now suppose you read this on the label on this bottle of pills and also knew that there were as effective alternatives with no side effects. I do not know about you, but I would not then venture to put these chemical poisons in my body.

In marriage Scripture tells us that man and woman become one. They are no longer two flesh therefore but one flesh. To love your wife is also to love yourself. The side effects mentioned above are what can happen to the one you love, the one who with whom you are united in flesh, when she takes the pill. If we are to love her as if she were our own body, if we are to love our wives as Christ loves his spouse the Church, why would we want her to put these poisons in her body even if there have been no apparent side effects with her so far?

Would you risk it?

Let us say no to poisoning our wives.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Sorry folks!

The computers were down ALL DAY. I need a computer guardian angel! But as you can see, we are back up now though it does seem a bit late to post so see you tomorrow!

Fr. V.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have decided that you would not mind if I brought my dog (my fictional one at the moment) over to your house to do his business on your lawn. I am ever so happy about this. I used to carry around a baggie but that was disgusting and ever so much work. Now, my doggie can do his dodo and it doesn’t matter!

Now, your reaction to this might be, “That’s all find and dandy that you have decided I don’t mind, but you should ask me. I may have a different idea about your doggie’s dodo than you do.” But believing this makes me feel better about myself, releases me of responsibility, and saves me from having to dispose of the stuff.

This scenario makes me wonder if this is how God feels when someone says, “Oh, God forgives me for that,” or “God doesn’t care about that.” Perhaps it is the case that they are not so much saying God is forgiving them but rather that they are forgiving themselves and relinquishing themselves of responsibility. A dangerous game to play.

Sometimes this is countered with, “Well, my God would not care about that.” As Catholics we believe we only have one God and He has told us exactly that about which He cares and exactly what to do about it if we should trample on it.

There is a similar case of when a person announces thier beloved dead ones are in heaven. “We know God was waiting for her! She strolled right into heaven!” That is a very complimentary and beautiful thing to say but it may lead to a person being denied the prayerful support they need in order to make it quickly there.

These seemingly trite sayings if taken too seriously could have consequences with which we would not be comfortable if we truly knew what was going on. I cannot think of a situation in which I would be comfortable saying them without some sort of theological basis on which to base them.

One other line that always perks my ears up comes at the end of a confession. “That is what I want to work on for now.” Or “That is all I want to confess.” Is there more? Is something being willingly retained? Should I probe? Or is this just a way of saying, “I’m finished”?

Perhaps it would be best if all three of these sayings would be wiped off the Catholic paying field as too dangerous to play around with.


FINDING TRUTH WHEVER IT MAY BE FOUND - "Religions are always in trouble . . . In adversity they grow honest. It's good for them." From Michner's "The Source"

QUOTE II - "On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to 0." Fight Club


In the "Know News That's Good News" department: Yesterday there was announement that this year the newest Catholic high school in Cleveland, St. Matin do Pours, will be graduating their first class! St. Martin's is an inner city school designed to give promising students of modest means a chance at a great Catholic education.

Fr. F. has taken up the mighty pen again! Read his article here from Commonweal Magazine.

Adoro pointed this out to me. I thought it a pretty funny blog.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Our computers were down again for most of the weekend. Sorry, no Monday Diary but here is Sunday Video on Tap a day late!
Stolen from Fr. Schnipple. Boobeeyadda. One minute.


Worthwhile event alert: Lifeworks has arranged for Dr David Prentice from the Family Research Council to speak on the ethics of modern science at 7pm on May 28th at the Bop Stop 2920 Detroit Avenue Cleveland 44113. Lifeworks has the details at 216 661 3000 ext.24

Jay says, "Life is good. The sun is shining, God loves you, and Catholic Carnival 172 is up!"

From our correspondant in New York: Don't waste gas driving around to finding the lowest price! Just look here. Thanks Kaz.

Lillian Marie and friend found this site called, "An Interview with God" for those of you who enjoy such things. Thanks L. M.

F. sent this site in. It has all in one place many of places you want to go. Now you can just point a click instead of plugging it in all the time.

Friday, May 16, 2008


The candle that has come to most readily symbolize Christ our Light is the Paschal candle also known as the Christ candle or the Easter candle.

The Paschal candle is a larger candle usually adorned with a cross, the current year, and an Alpha and Omega; Christ the first and the last. Five grains of incense are held in place, usually at the points and center of the cross, with five wax nails. These represent the wounds of Christ.

After the fire is blessed at the Easter Vigil, the Christ Candle is lit and (usually the deacon) carries Christ into a dark church that represents the world and calls out three times, “Christ our light!” To which the people respond, “Thanks be to God!” From this one flame, divided but undimmed, all people present receive a light for the candles that they are holding. Though the candles are held by individuals, the light emanating from it is still the light of Christ who enlightens us. During the Exsultet (The Easter Proclamation) this is sung, “Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God. Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!”

At the blessing of the water the candle is dipped into the water. Can you see the connection between Christ making holy the waters of baptism by being baptized by St. John and the candle the symbolizes Christ being touched to the water during the blessing of the holy water? Is that cool or what?

The Candle is then given a place of honor next to the ambo and burns throughout the Easter season, that time when Christ resurrected from the dead and appeared to his disciples. At Pentecost then it is moved to the baptistery and used for baptisms and funerals.

After the baptism a candle is lit (yet another candle to add to our growing list) from the Paschal candle and presented to the baptized. “Receive the light of Christ. Parents and Godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He/She is to walk as a child in the light. May he/she keep the flame alive in h/h heart. When the Lord comes, may he/she go out to meet Him with all the saint in the heavenly kingdom.”

And so it happens. When the baptized dies, the Paschal candle is brought to the center isle and to stand at the head of the casket and lit to symbolize Christ indeed leading the faithful to our heavenly homeland.


News doesn’t seem to be news unless it is scandalous or gossipy. Bucking the trend, here are a couple of stories that you might still find of note.

This past week a number of Ursuline nuns celebrated sixty years of ministry. They were of that hard working, backbone of the diocese stock that taught countless numbers of young people of many generations and began ministries that many of us take for granted today. Some kind soul had, in his will, that when these particular nuns reached their 60th anniversary (can you imagine how many cumulative years of ministry that involves?) they should be treated to dinner from his estate; and not just any dinner, but seriously good and expensive dinner at a fine restaurant.

Each sister was able to ask one companion sister to escort her and off they went to Moxie’s. The restaurant pulled out all of the stops, treating these treasures to the fussing they deserved. A fine time was had by all. God bless the nuns and those who remember the blessings they have been to the life of the Church.

A second story involves a church choir competition in Cleveland sponsored by a local classical radio station (WCLV 104.9) and the United Church of Christ. “The mission of this competition or “challenge” is to remind Cleveland and the surrounding areas of that beautiful and time-honored tradition of choral music in our houses of worship and to further heighten the standard of music in the 21st century.” It was the first for Cleveland and the Cathedral Choir of Saint John the Evangelist was the only Catholic Choir to make it all the way to the final six. Choirs were rated not only their talent, but on the scope of the repertory and their mastery of varying styles.

The final competition was held on our ordination weekend. The choir had to sing at 9:00 on Friday night for they would not be able to be there in the morning. The announcement of the winner of the competition was scheduled during ordination making it impossible for their capable leader Mr. Greg Heislman and many of the singers to attend. One wonders if someone kept a cell phone on vibrate in order to hear if they won or not.

As it turns out the cathedral choir did indeed win this first competition. Congratulations all around! We are fortunate to have such a choir and further blessed to have a bishop who supports having the finest choir in the land as we remember that the Catholic Church has always been patroness of the arts. Praise God.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Sorry for the late post today. Our server was down and nobody knows why - or why it is back up!

One of the local Protestant parishes has this posted on their marquee outside, “The man who has a Godly mother is rich indeed!” It may sound trite but it is very true.

So I was having coffee with someone this past week and being that Mothers Day was bearing down on us we told three stories of how our mothers taught us to live in this world.


A number of years ago my once prosperous hometown was hit by hard times as all the industry shut down and moved away. Many families were struggling to put food on the table. My babushka wearing, pocketbook carrying, non-driving mother read about it in the local paper and that the city was asking for volunteers to work for a community food bank. She no sooner read the story that she put her babushka on, tucked her pocketbook under her arm and trudged the twenty-minute walk to the food bank and continued doing so for a number of years from that point. I was so impressed by the gesture that it was partially responsible for my becoming a priest and my promoting the work of CRS. We may not be able to end poverty, but we can do a lot to alleviate it with someone or some small group. When I was hungry you have me to eat.


A story was told of a Mom who lived next door to a family who had a dog tied up on a short leash in the back yard. The dog was virtually forgotten except when someone came out to throw some food at the dog. So the dog cried and barked all day. There are a few routes one might take. You could call the police or an animal protection league or you could yell at the careless people and engender bitter feelings. But this Mom went next door and said, “You know, I love dogs but I cannot have one. Would you mind if I took your dog for walks?” They were very thankful to her. If you are angry, let it be without sin.


Two stores were battling in my hometown. One blasted Italian music at the door and across the street, Slovenian. They each kept upping the ante until neither could stop without losing face. Another Mom in a similar situation used this approach. The neighbors across the street played loud music on their porch all day long. She bought a 12 pack of a tasty beverage and went over and introduced herself, gave them refreshments, got to know them, and then kindly asked them to turn down their music which they did with good feelings all around. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Years ago I used to carry dollar bills in my pocked (usually four or five dollars) whenever I went downtown. I’d give them out to anybody who asked and when I was out I was out. There was also the time that I was invited to see Dolly Parton downtown by a friend. (I know, I know, and I don’t want to hear about it.) The family invited me to share their loge with them and it was PACKED with catered food for three times the amount of people present. They informed me that the food is thrown away afterwards and so they had it all packed up (there was a LOT) and we set about in their car delivering food to those on the streets. The only unfortunate thing about that was that we did not make up good meals. One person got a full box of potatoes, another a full box of beef. We tried to connect them up though. “You might want to go and share with that guy down there, he has coleslaw!”

Now these sign are appearing downtown. There is always some amount of controversy about whether it is a good thing to give to beggars or not and I am torn by the arguments. A man did ask me for money for food while I was downtown on Monday and after reading this I sign declined to do so. But I was solicitous to him and he was very kind in return.

So what is one to do – or to quote that worn and now clich├ęd phrase, “What would Jesus do?” Who knows? Well. Who knows beyond this: It is not an option be pretend people are not there either physically or in social justice terms. By that I mean as Catholic we have an obligation to recognize the humanness and dignity of others even if that is not entirely reflected back. We should be kind and offer greetings when greeted. And if you are of the mind not to hand money out for whatever reason say so. “I give at such and so place. That is my way of helping.” (This is USUALLY met with kindness in return.) Then the second part of that equation is to actually do that charity because that is who we are. That is one more reason we are proud to call ourselves Catholic.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND - "When we truly encounter the night in all its beauty and terror, we have no assurance whatsoever that we are going to come out unscathed. If you come out injured it might just be a sign of the blessing that you have received." Rast O.S.B.

QUOTE II - "If it's in the dictionary, it's probably false." Fr. John Loya


Oh! How people agonize over whether they have a vocation or not! Some people discern so long that they discern themselves out of the opportunity. Brothers and Sisters of Perpetual Discernment is a blog on the level of Spirit of Vatican II Blog about such persons. If you think that you would get a kick out of it pop over. Sister Caprice is waiting.

Clevelanders contemplating a vocation: Come join a day-long retreat helping single Catholic men and women, ages 18-40 explore and lean more about the priesthood and consecrated life Saturday June 7th at the Center for Pastoral Leadership (Wickliffe). For more information or to register call 1.800.869.6525 or 216.696.6525 ext. 3490.

Thoughts should be turning to spring but this picture of this little guy was still on my camera. He was snagged for a picture while we were hiking during our third winter storm and I though I'd share him with you.


As you may have caught on Sunday Video on Tap there were five men from the diocese of Cleveland who were ordained to the priesthood this past Saturday, a fine lot of young men and we are very fortunate to have them. Friday night afforded me the opportunity to go to a reception of one of our newly ordained priests for the diocese. It was a nice affair held in the parish hall. Everybody fusses about a newly ordained and so I had just about enough time to shake his hand in congratulations, ask for his blessing, and tell him to journal all of this because it will surprise him how much he will forget.

Participating in ordination weekend is for a priest what it must be like for married persons to go to a wedding. Lots of memories come back.

Okay, that’s a lie. A few memories come back. I had to go back in my journals to really remember the day. It was like a whirlwind and my head was spinning for months after. There are many wonderful and holy moments that took place during those precious days and they are remembered largely because they are written down and there is picture evidence that it actually took place. Perhaps someday I shall talk about that.

I am embarrassed to tell you what my two strongest memories are however.

Okay that was a lie too. I wrote this post to tell you exactly what those two strongest memories are.

The first concerns the Litany of the Saints. While it is sung the priests-to-be lie prostrate on the floor while the saints, that mystical part of the Body of Christ, are called upon pray for those about to be ordained. I’ve heard the Litany and number of hundreds of times before but there was something particularly revelatory about it this time. For the first time I heard these names as true and living members of my family, not just good guys in heaven who might pray for me if I ask. The litany is no longer such an academic thing for me anymore but as real for me as calling out the names of my Mom, Dad, and sisters.

But at the same time, for some unfathomable reason I have an equally deep impression of the floor. I remember thinking, “Wow, this floor is so shiny I can see the chandeliers in the ceiling!” What a terrible thing to remember so clearly during such a solemn occasion.

The other thing remembered is the during the presbyteral laying on of hands. After the bishop laid his hands on our heads, all the present priests are invited to do the same. So we knelt on the marble floor while each of them did so. There were a couple hundred priests so luckily we took the cue from the previous year’s class to wear kneepads. Everything is going along fine when my future pastor, already in his 80s, came and laid his hands on my head and said a prayer. He then leaned over and said, “Looking forward to seeing you at Saint Ambrose,” and then slapped me – HARD – on my cheek like they used to do for confirmation. I heard my family gasp behind me.

I’m glad he did so actually. It stands out in my memory as a happy moment. Perhaps we should bring that back at confirmation. (Maybe not, I could see lawsuits.)

In a similar way I tell brides that it is a good thing that their ceremony was not perfect if something should happen. “That will be something will talk about forever. If it all went well they would say, ‘It was nice’ and that would be the end of it. You’ll appreciate it later.”

I hope that I am right.

Friday, May 9, 2008




Jay is positively giddy over the opening of Catholic Carnival 171!

This is just a nice story about being a good person and how sometimes it comes back as a blessing on you. Cabbies Treated to Classical Violin. Thanks Fr. F.

The Diocese of Cleveland Enewseletter reports five men ordained to the priesthood of Jesus Christ for the Diocese this past Saturday. God bless you Fathers!

Here is a site for various streaming video presentations from the Diocese of Cleveland. Kind of like a Clevelandtube I suppose.


Next we will try to enlighten ourselves a bit about candles. I have a burning desire to do so though this topic can’t hold a candle to bell symbolism. I just happen to have a bee in my bonnet to go into it.

The saddest part of this endeavor has been a discovery that I wish I hadn’t made. Everybody knows that liturgical candles must be 51% beeswax. Ask almost any priest (or candle manufacturer.) As it turns out, this is a former requirement that is not mandated any longer.

‘“DOL 208, p. 519, note R47, quoting the newsletter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Notitiae 10:80 (1974), no. 4: "Query: Must the lighted candles that are to be placed in candlesticks for the celebration of Mass consist in part of beeswax, olive oil, or other vegetable oil? Reply: The GIRM prescribes candles for Mass ‘as a sign of reverence and festiveness' (nos. 79, 269). But it makes no further determination regarding the material of their composition, except in the case of the sanctuary lamp, the fuel for which must be oil or wax (see Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, Introduction no. 11). The faculty that the conferences of bishops possess to choose suitable materials for sacred furnishings applies therefore to the candles for Mass. The faculty is limited only by the condition that in the estimation of the people the materials are valued and worthy and that they are appropriate for sacred use. Candles intended for liturgical use should be made of material that can provide a living flame without being smoky or noxious and that does not stain the altar cloths or coverings. Electric bulbs are banned in the interest of safeguarding authenticity and the full symbolism of light."’

Be (or bee) that as it may, traditionally liturgical candles represent Christ our Light. (Just one more reason why the Unity Candle does not make sense in the Catholic Liturgy, but that is for another day.) The wax is often identified with the flesh of Christ and the wick His soul. (The reason beeswax was prescribed was that it symbolizes purity being made by the virgin male honey bee.) The flame that gives us light sacrifices itself; consumes itself for our benefit as Christ gave Himself for us. “I am the light of the world,” says the Lord, and its light (and natural scent if still made of beeswax) reminds us of His sacred body.


I’m sure you heard about the 23-cent pizza that Papa Johns was selling to Clevelanders yesterday. Everybody else did. I know because most of them were standing in our front lawn and filling our parking places.

I thought it might be fun to pop over the pizza joint and claim our 23-cent pizza for lunch and told the guys I would go over early and beat the crowd. HA! Take a look at this picture. This is the line from the pizza shop taken from my front window. From here it went down to the corner, turned, snaked through their parking lot and finally into the pizzeria.

My life is worth more than a couple of hours waiting for a 23-cent pizza.

But it got me thinking that maybe here is the marketing strategy that the Catholic Church needs to start employing. I mean, here was a large group of people who did not mind giving up an hour or so of their time, parking quite a distance away and walking to their destination on a misty day, and who did not mind standing in procession in an interminable line. It was like watching news reports of Cold War era Russia. And all for a cheap pizza that by today is only a memory save for the heartburn.

It would be easy to be snotty at this point. I am tempted. But the more I think about it the easier it is to think of the millions of faithful Catholics who are loyal to Christ every weekend and do the same. Getting to Mass is a hardship for some and sacrifices are made. This weekend in this parish alone about 1,600 people will stand in line to receive not pizza, but the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The next day the effects of that Eucharist will not just be a memory but an active agent in the life of these faithful people and a down payment on the life to come. There is a lot of hope in that.

My urge to be snotty is a basic human desire for others to share in what I see as important. Yes, 23-cent pizza is fun; eternal life is better.

Come back and park here on Sunday. Find true nourishment.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


10. The Catholic faith not only respects my intellect, it demands me to engage it.

9. The Catholic faith places at the pinnacle my freedom. It forces nothing on me, only validly recognizes states that I freely choose, and respects my right to walk out the door.

8. The Catholic faith sets a high bar for me to achieve. It believes in me and never panders to me. But the Catholic faith also understands I may fail miserably and provides ways for me to readily come back if I am sincere in doing so. Even if it is a hundred times a year.

7. The Catholic Church stands almost alone in assuming that because I am, from the moment of my conception, I am worth something, that I have dignity, was made to be good, made in the image and likeness of my Father, and am thus worthy of all its respect and protection. And that it loves you the same way.

6. Whether I find myself in Rome, Harare, or Cleveland, I am always at home in the Catholic Church.

5. Even if I do not understand the language, I will always understand what is going on at a Catholic Mass.

4. The Catholic faith demands that I stretch my limited boundaries, self concerns, my comfort level beyond the pleasant.

3. The Catholic faith is not interested in agreeing with me thereby becoming an outward expression of me, but sharing with me what it holds to be timeless truth and inviting me to be an outward expression of God.

2. It holds as indispensable the one, the true, the good, and the beautiful.

1. It is the means by which man comes as close in contact as possible with God in this world and that that grace, which has made holy men and women throughout her existence, for some unfathomable reason, through the sacraments, has been entrusted to me as His dispenser.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Not too long ago the Vatican issued a list of “new sins” which was quite clever of them. Stating it in such a fashion caught the attention of the nations at least for nanosecond.

The world has its own list of new sins that seem to top people’s concerns far more effectively however. I wish I could site you the source for this list but I lost the reference. It reported that today’s evils consist of:

High Prices
Lack of Choice
Lack of Privacy
Heart Burn
Hair Loss

Everybody has a strong opinion on these things and could wax eloquently on them in public without any reservations. It is perhaps because we can feel the burn of these sins so readily and universally that they are accepted as sins to be done away with. The culprit is some other faceless evil man or force, not my son who is shacking up with a girl and has a baby on the way.

Just the same, and not wanting to left out of the process, I want to add my own list of modern day sins to be done away with. (The picture below is from my new favorite place to get coffee.)

1. Scheduling anything, but especially children’s activities during dinner time.
2. Unnecessary automated phone answering systems – especially ones without the helpful option you need nor a way to contact a real person.
3. Answering a cell phone in public without an apology and stepping outside.
4. Discouraging vocations.
5. Placing unnecessary distance between people with technology.
6. Not exerting control on the content of information that comes into your home over every computer and television.
7. Spending more free time with electronic devices that real people when available.
8. Blaring television sets in areas designed for family interaction such as restaurants.

Any objections? Any additions?

Sunday, May 4, 2008


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: "Boredom is in fact the weight of unused capacity, an intimation of the freedom from which the self has hidden." Felix Unger

QUOTE II - "A quick lesson in natural law: If you fill your car with molasses it wont run no matter what you paradigm." Janet E. Smith


L.M. sent a link to an article about the Lourdes Shrine in Cleveland. The reason this is interesting is because it is run by the order she wishes to enter. Thanks L.M.

I just thought this was an interesting picture to share. We have a temporary baptismal wading pool for the Easter season with plants all around it. This is a picture of the west trancept window reflecting in the holy water.


Sometimes a story is just a story and there is no great revelatory moment contained within its prose. And even if there is it should be ignored for it would ruin the pure entertainment of the story. And with that I share with you this little occurrence from the previous week.

Remember I told you about the brothers, the one of whom donated a kidney to the other? Well last Saturday I thought to take the jaunt to the Cleveland Clinic to check up on the boys and see how they were fairing with their modifications in their inner plumbing. The surgeons and their bodies worked hard at making sure all wounds were healing ahead of schedule and so the visit was purely social in nature. Thanks be to God.

After pulling into the parking garage the steps were taken down to the tunnel that allows people to shuffle freely between buildings without having to contend with a busy street, the crossing of which might provide the hospital with more work then they probably needed. The landing in the tunnel is across from the elevator and there was muted shouting coming from behind the stainless steel doors which became full scale surround sound screaming and laughter as the doors slid open and allowed a just-beyond-toddler to escape its confines. He shot out like a bullet and started running in circles, his little shoe clad feet slapping the terrazzo as he ran – slap! slap! slap! screaming and laughing.

Hasty tracks were made by me down the tunnel. Now, there is something you need to know about this tunnel. All along to your right from floor to ceiling and end to end there is a milky glass wall with lights behind them that slowly turns the wall different colors of the rainbow as you walk along. So I’m walking along and I hear behind me the slapping of the child’s feet and his voice ringing out at full throttle, “Blue! Blue! Blue!” slap! slap! slap!

Closer he came. “Poyple! Poyple! Poyple!” slap! slap! slap! Soon he will be on my heals. “Red! Red!” Smack! Then there is nothing. Only silence. Then I hear a rather drone and defeated male voice calmly ask, “Jasper, are you Okay?” I turned around and saw a rather substantial bench and on the opposite side a dazed and confused boy splayed out on the floor. The look of betrayal and shock on his face was near cartoonish. Then there was the look of serious consideration as he took inventory of his damage. I think he was not hurt but this was far too shocking a moment not to respond and the tornado siren started blowing beginning nice as soft and building to “Take Cover!” mode.

I occurs to me in writing this might seem a bit sad. What’s so funny about a kid running into a bench? But at the time it provided me and a younf man with a new kidney a good half hour of laughs.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Oremus is back for a second week. They are finishing up one song before going on to today's feature so give them a couple of seconds. Here is "Holy Mary" for Our Mother at the beginning of the month in her honor. (Approximately three minutes.)

If you would like to know more about these guys look here.


Will blessings never cease? Jay says Catholic Carnival 171 is up and running!

MJ passes on this disturbing news story that you will not see in the news media about Bishop Quinn offering mass for 25 aborted babies.

The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter reports that 8 men were ordained to the permenant diaconate yesterday and also provided this link to a broadcast of Bishop Lennon discussing parish clustering and Vibrant Parish Life Phase II on diocese T.V. (which I did not even know existed.)

Friday, May 2, 2008


Fear not, we are almost finished with bells!

Most parishes still have bells at the starting gate, that is they ring a bell to start the mass. It is a wonderful device for coordinating musicians, people, ministers, and the priest when everything is ready to begin (as opposed to the rather more clumsy methods of waving at the musician, having walkie-talkies, or someone announcing, “Please stand now and sing.”)

In many parishes the sanctus bells are still rung. This is a small bell or cluster of bells that the server rings a little before and during the consecration. Contrary to popular belief they have not been banished from the liturgy like the maniple. In fact in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2003) it states in paragraph 150, “A little before the consecration, when appropriate, a server rings a bell as a signal to the faithful. According to local custom, the server also rings the bell as the priest shows the host and then the chalice.”

Some people make the point that now that the mass is in the vernacular and not in Latin (most places anyway), we do not need the bells to tell us where we are in the Mass. I suppose there is a kernel of truth to this. But on the other hand it goes against the grain of popular culture to such an extent that I am surprised that more people do not use them. Think about it. If you get a point in a video game, win a jackpot on a machine, - even if your elevator doors open at your floor successfully there are bells. But even better than these at mass we have Jesus Christ now present! Ah, but – that’s just me. When bells are used it usually occurs at the epiclesis and at the major elevations. They may be rung once, or three times in imitation of when the bells were rung in the Latin Mass, or there may be a tower of three bells struck with a hammer.

Finally, a tradition that has almost completely died out save for some very special occasions in limited situations is the ringing of a tower bell during the consecration. It gives those not in attendance at mass the opportunity to unite their prayers with sacrifice of the mass in a moment of prayer.

None of this is required and is not essential (or even necessary.) But in an age with diminishing belief in the reality of the Eucharist, it might be something at least worth contemplating employing.