Thursday, June 30, 2011


When you are witness to a spectacle it’s easier to have your pocket picked. So much of our focus is on the fireworks or the band or what have you that it makes it easier for the thief to slip his hand into your pocket and take your pocket watch.

Confession can be like that too. It is true that we only have to confess mortal sins but that doesn’t mean that it is not extremely beneficial to do more than that. We confess the spectacle with great remorse and attention and a hundred little sins scurry under the rug like cockroaches. But it is those little sins that can build on each other making the larger sin possible. We shoot the elephant trying to bring down the house but leave the termites to chew away at the very structure. But because they are smaller, less noticeable or public, we might let them pass, able to pretend they are not there or not that bad compared the that pesky elephant.

Often big sins are a symptom. While trying to rid ourselves of them we also need to look at what allows them into our life. Am I selfish? Do I pray? Am I fulfilling my vocational responsibilities? Am I prideful? And so forth. If not for the confessional, these pesky sins should be part of a nightly examination of conscience.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It’s a beautiful day!
Life is good!

Take 2 minutes and do something about your faith that you would not have normally done.

Read just ONE verse randomly in the Bible. Take it to the bathroom with you if you must.

Turn off the T.V. Don’t watch that rerun. Walk around your block. It’s a beautiful night.

Think about someone you love and haven’t thought of for a while. Send that person a prayer.

Think of person who died and offer them a prayer.

Pray for your pastor or the Pope or someone with a tough job like a parent.

Look out your window. If nothing else there are great clouds or a blue sky to look at and say thank you for.

Plan some deviously good deed to do for someone.

Breath deep. Doesn’t it feel good? You don’t have a cold today. Give thanks!

Put up with someone today.

Offer a little sacrifice. No matter how small. Thank God you could do it.

Think through one verse of your favorite hymn.

Stop trying to think which hymn is your favorite and just pick one.

Remember to call on (or thank) you guardian angel today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: “Thus we are busy people just like all other busy people, rewarded with the rewards which are rewarded to busy people!” Henri J. M. Nouwen

QUOTE IIThe terrible singularity, the chilling aloofness of the sovereign moral will.” Bruce Jennings


A young lady came to the parish for a blessing before embarking on a trip. (That is cool news in and of itself!) But her trip is going to be an interesting one. She will be traveling on bike from Maine to California stopping along the way to help build affordable housing with an organization called Bike and Build. It is not a Christian movement but a worthwhile project. According to their mission statement, "Bike & Build envisions future generations who are committed to a lifetime of civic engagement and who inspire individuals and communities to create fair, decent housing for all Americans." If you would like more information look here.

In a much more Catholic specific mode - The King's Men is an organization to help men in their Christian/Catholic calling. According to their mission statement, "Under Christ the King’s universal call to serve, we as men, pledge to unite and build up other men in the mold of leader, protector, and provider through education, formation and action." They also work hard at eliminating porn in men's lives and in our communities. Read more here.

What can I say but WOW to this eight minute video? Would I have the nerve? Would I have the stregth to hold our monstrance like that for ten minutes? It got pretty heavy just on our short porcession on Corpus Christi! Thanks Pat.

Here is a picture of our Coprus Christi procession this year.

From the Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter, "WOIO TV19 News in Cleveland aired a story in its 11:00 p.m. newscast on Tuesday, June 21,2011 on the sale of five Diocesan properties to White Hat management. White Hat operates charter schools and was already leasing at three of the locations at the time the sales were consummated.

Reporter Paul Joncich used these terms to describe the transactions, "the Diocese only received pennies on the dollar," Catholics were described as "frustrated" by the sales, and the five churches were sold "for a song." Nothing could be further from the truth." Read more here.

YEA! for Pampers! If there were more commercials like this maybe I would watch T.V. again.

Is divorce losing its appeal? Read about the Times article here.

Congratulations to our choir for a FABULOUS concert on Sunday!  They will be leaving for to perform in Rome on July 4th. 

Do you remember the new statue of John Paul II reported here earlier? The artist defends his work here.

Monday, June 27, 2011


This weekend was a little more fun than usual. For some reason I have been a little heavy on the administration end of things and this weekend more enjoyable things happened. We had our Eucharistic procession, our choir concert went phenomenally (after many years of singing I hadn’t sung in a choir in 13 years), and today we had a meeting with the local synagogue. 
We actually share a property line with the Beth El and they invited us over to meet. We showed up at their beautiful building just before lunch to meet with the rabbi, and three men who represented various leadership roles. We walked through their worship spaces, the school, and the banquet facilities with two humongous kitchens for keeping kosher.

There were a number of things that symbolically marked our differences. Instead of an occasional inscription in Latin there would be one in Hebrew. We might share some Old Testament symbols but ours would be pointing toward their role in Christianity. In place of the occasional cross they had a menorah. I had a Roman collar on and they wore yamakas.

We often speak about Christians being in the world but not of the world. We are citizens of our nations but having a true citizenship on heaven. We are in exile waiting to go home. Growing up in a city that had a lot of strong ethnic groups it was interesting seeing how they interacted. “This is the Slovenian parish and they sing this and eat that. This is the Polish parish and they sing this and eat that and dance the polka like this . . .” It felt a little bit like that meeting at the synagogue, as if we were each representing people living here and now, providing a place to be and experience a connection to our homeland, being fully citizens of this world while waiting to go to ours.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I am hard pressed to understand the logic of why the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated when it is. There may be a very good reason and if anybody knows I would be interested. But I am glad there is such a feast.

There is another similar day – Maundy Thursday. (Oh! Maybe THAT’S why it is on a Thursday – save for places where it is moved to Sunday.) Anyway, Maundy Thursday (or Holy Thursday) is the day we celebrate the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. But there is also a ton of other things going on that day and the theme one of mourning. Here we have Jesus and precious little time to spend in devotion of His presence among us in this most august way. So in the 12th century a movement was begun to have a day when we could, in a special and devotional way, show our love and gratitude for such an auspicious gift. Pope Urban IV began the feast day and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the liturgical texts. He also wrote some songs about the Blessed Sacrament the words of which we still sing today at benediction: O Salutaris (O Saving Victim) and Tantum Ergo (Down In Adoration).

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Nobody should have anything to say about what I do in the privacy of my home. If I choose to watch porn who am I harming? Keep your morality to yourself.”

In truth there is no such thing as a private sin. And this sin reaches dramatically beyond the bedroom (or office) door. Here is just a partial list:

The person viewing is radically turning inward (as opposed to marriage which is to radically turn us toward “the other.”) When he is watching porn the man is not thinking of his wife and family, he is not thinking of the woman in the movie who likely did not grow up thinking that this was the lifestyle she dreamed of and is proud to tell her family about. Even if it is “free” porn he perpetuates the system that feeds on these women that it eventually throws away – who now turns to the very society that used her to help her. It is all about meeting the desires of the man.

It prevents the man from being leaders, providers, and protectors. Whether hours a day are spent or hours a week, this is time stolen from the very people the man loves. With companies installing monitoring systems there is good number of men losing their jobs daily. (Think Wiener.)  Whether he realizes it or not his attitude toward women is altered. He will pass this attitude (where it may become exaggerated) on to his children.

It ruins marriages. Men tend to compartmentalize. He can put porn into a drawer and pretend to separate it from the rest of his life. Women, according to Dr. Kleponis, see life more as a bucket of water and porn a drop of ink. It spreads and colors everything. That is why women tend to see it as something worse than men and why men, particularly those struggling with porn, sometimes do not register it as something as severe. So women see this as a betrayal and something against which they must compete and images against which they could never compare.

It perpetuates lying and deceit as the man tries to hide his porn use. (If you have to hide it, there is something wrong in a relationship where you are supposed to be one flesh.) This leads to damage in communication. All this together can lead to divorce which has a nasty effect sociologically and economically on the family, particularly the children, and on society in general. It ALWAYS harms marriage in some way.

It is ALWAYS damaging to faith. Faith calls us to see the dignity of the human person. All of them. Even those who voluntarily throw it away. To miss this is to miss out on one of the primary tenants of the faith that Jesus came here to teach as necessary to salvation. It is your sister (or brother) that you are turning into a commodity. As John Paul II said it is not that porn reveals too much of the person. It is that it reveals too little. It reduces a person to their organs and skin to be used and thrown away.

Porn is addictive. For some more than others. It is always a problem but for some it leads not only to hours a day being lost to fantasy but also to thousands of dollars on site fees and other materials. Worst of all are boarders starting to become fuzzy between reality and fantasy as men try to live out what they see on the screen. Loss of resources for the family at this point, while terrible, is not as devastating as the possibility of bringing home a disease that can seriously harm or lead to the death of himself and his wife.

For the man who is addicted it can seriously harm his feelings of self worth and his male confidence. The viscous circle being the thing that makes him feel better temporarily is the very thing that throws him deeper into despair. We do not have to wonder what it is like when men are no longer men in their families and neighborhoods. Weak, ineffectual, and/or absent husbands and fathers lead to a breakdown in our social fabric.

Finally it absorbs BILLIONS of dollars every year – not to mention loss of production of paid work time and loss of volunteer hours. (Who is available to be a scout master or a basketball coach?) $97 billion a year is spent on porn ($13 billion from the U.S.) That is more than to top tech companies combined and more than double the NFL. Every 39 minutes a new porn movie made in the USA causing us to spend over $3,000 a second on porn and the using of thousands and thousands of people including children. This is a terrible drain on our nation. What would you suggest $3,000 a second be spent on – education? Parks? Medical care? National infrastructure? Job creation?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Years ago I rented a Disney movie to show to a classroom full of kids. (It was a video cassette, which was all there was, so that tells you how long ago it was.) We put the tape in and walked to the back of the classroom. The machine finished loading and all these naked blue people came on the screen writhing and bumping against each other. Was the wrong tape in the box? How did we pick up a porn tape?! I ran through the kids diving at the machine slapping at the controls in an overzealous effort to make it stop when an announcer came on and said, “Try brand X perfume” immediately followed by some typical Disney cartoon.
You can’t completely keep porn away from your kids. It will find them. But you can do a lot to protect them and prepare them for when it does find them.

In a priest meeting yesterday concerning the real damage pornography is causing, this strategy was proposed by Dr. Peter C. Kleponis to be taught in our parishes to parents to protect their kids.

PLAN 1 for ages 0 to 11

1. Carefully monitor ALL media that enters the house and remove anything pornographic. (The problem is we as a society have become very desensitized.) This includes T.V., movies, mail catalogues, magazines, Internet, music and video games.

2. Keep the computer in a public area of the house.

3. Monitor what children are watching online: computes, iPods, MP3, Emails, and know that cell phones are the place where most teens see porn today.

4. Limit screen time. (Get outside!)

5. Monitor social media (Facebook, Myspace, You-tube)

6. Use parental blocks.

7. Know your children’s friends, their parents, and know what they are doing at the neighbor’s house.

8. Teach modesty in dress and virtuous living.

PLAN 2 for ages 11 and through the teen years.

1. Teach youth about the dangers of pornography. (Which means, learn about the dangers of porn.)

2. Monitor and remove all things pornographic in the house (see #1 above.)

3. Keep the computer in a public place.

4. Limit screen time.

5. Monitor Emails, texts, etc. Youth have a right to love, faith, food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other basics. Phones and computers are a privilege. There is a golden rule: He who has the gold rules. Parents are most likely paying for the phone and/or its use and have a right to know how they are being used. Parent’s computers are often monitored at work (because their work owns them) and many people lose their jobs every week because they view porn at work. Parents should not be bullied into an expectation of privacy. The same thing can be said about social media (Facebook, etc.) it should be monitored.

6. Subscribe to an Internet Accountability Service. Kids can get around parental blocks. This focuses on accountability rather than unavailability. Remember to put it on the cell phone. This is the number one place where kids choose to view porn.

7. Allow your kids to play in homes where you know parents are also protective against pornography.

8. Teach modesty in dress and virues.

Porn destroys lives. One only has to hear confessions for a little while to know how damaging and widespread it is. Help keep kids from falling into the pit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND: “New Missals do not come with expiration dates like milk, they come with “born on” dates like beer.” Fr. Taylor

QUOTE II: “Every journey toward something is a journey away from something and sometimes it sjust as important to know what you’re journeying away from as it is to know what your journeying toward.” Matthew Kelly


In a moment of indecision trying to decide what project I was going to work on next, just for the fun of it I typed "Catholic Culture" to see what came up. Here are some sites (not completely vetted.)

The mission of is to give faithful Catholics the information, encouragement, and perspective they need to become an active force for renewal in the Church and in society, working to shape an authentically Christian culture in a secular world.

The Institute of Catholic Culture is a privately funded non-profit Catholic educational institute. Please consider joining our cause for the restoration of Catholic adult education.

Because we treasure God’s gift of the Catholic Church, we have embarked on a journey to rediscover all we can about our glorious faith ---- and we have barely scratched the surface. Through Our Lady of Walsingham Institutes of Catholic Culture Studies, we have put out into the deep and are rediscovering the spiritual and intellectual treasures and traditions that lie beyond the day-to-day familiarity of our faith. This Catholic treasure chest is yielding an abundance of gifts! We are being armed with all that is needed to persevere and to be victorious in the battles that grip our society. By "proclaiming the Kingdom of God through a Renewal of Catholic Culture" we are confident that we can contribute to a renewal of the American culture.

My experience of being Catholic, as with many other Catholics in the English- speaking world, is influenced by my Irish Catholic roots. Catholic Pages.

This is a seven minute video. It isn't anything particular just to let you know that there is good stuff on Youtube.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Ah . . .

Father’s Day.

I decided to take the day easy. Since Dad is no longer with us I was going to enjoy the day myself having, at least, the title father. Activities at the parish were done about 3:30 and so I went on a bike ride and hoped to go over to some friend’s house for an outdoor get-together – but alas a fantastic rainstorm hit.

For those of you who read last week, there is an extra dog in the house. We did finally reach her owners. They are out of town. We have been trying to get a handle on when they think they might be back but they are mostly incommunicado. About the only thing I was able to divine was her name.

It’s moonbeam.

So Moonbeam, Sebastian, and I were home alone – they were itching to get out and I was itching for them to be out. The garage door was opened and I sat in a folding chair dry from the rain and threw balls out into the yard for them to chase – taking advantage of every puddle of water they could find.

Coming inside was when I finally got wet. There was rain coming in several places in the rectory. (Turns out it was good that I was home!) Now that I think of it – this almost always happens on a Sunday. Go figure. Last time I went up on the roof I got out three ladders to make it up there before I figured out that there is a trap door from the top floor which would require no ladders at all. The roof was indeed ankle deep in water. The stately trees that grace our property also have their downside – they shed – A LOT – and though the roofs have been cleaned twice already this summer, the drains were plugged once again. Pulling all the muck away from the drains the water whooshed down the drains like it couldn’t wait to get off of the roof.

The second roof also had standing water. About three inches. But the drain was not blocked – it must have been plugged. The dogs and I went about building to building looking for places were there might be a plunger. Finding one we went back. The dogs could actually join me on this roof and they jumped and rolled enjoying the three or four inches of water. It almost seemed a shame to unplug the drain. A couple of pumps however and the drain unplugged and down went the water.

Made me feel rather useful and he-manish saving the rectory. That was a nice Father’s Day present.

Friday, June 17, 2011


There is a hierarchy of celebrations in the Church. Some are mandatory, some are not. Some are worldwide, some are not. 
There are, of course, obligatory days. These are Sundays and other days of highest obligation. There are other days that optional such as weekday Masses and certain memorials. Here are some terms to keep in the back of your mind:

SOLEMNITIES: These are the highest celebrations. When celebrated they begin with evening prayer of the previous day. They celebrated important events, persons of highest importance to the faith and even certain beliefs. These appear on the universal calendar.

FEASTS: These celebrations are not quite as high as the solemnities but still of great note.

MEMORIALS: These are more local celebrations. They may be limited to a country or even a single location such as a monastery or church and so are not on the universal calendar. They may or may not be mandatory – most likely not. They can even be optional. Sometimes there are a number of these on one day and one can be picked from the number of them or even skipped altogether.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


First a quick background. As we in the diocese are aware, the city of Cleveland is experiencing significant difficulties with population drops, dwindling tax dollars, loss of jobs, cut backs in services, abandoned neighborhoods etc, etc, etc. There is an initiative beginning called Greater Cleveland Congregations that is pulling together different faiths to work together to address these issues. The Diocese is officially declining to participate. Here was a letter to the editor written by Sister Mary Hurley, a Catholic nun which appeared in the Plain Dealer on Wednesday, 15 June.

As a Catholic, a native Clevelander and one whose work, social, religious, civic and family activities are primarily in the Greater Cleveland, I was inspired and excited when I read of the formation of the Greater Cleveland Congregations to address our area’s concerns for education, jobs health care, criminal justice and sustainable food (May 28). But I cannot adequately express my profound disappointment and sadness when I subsequently read (June 7) that there had been no response to the invitation to Bishop Richard Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese to join the coalition and that the diocese had asked one parish to put its GCC involvement “on hold.

“As a former longtime member of the Diocesan Commission on Catholic Community Action, when it worked closely with other faith communities and public officials to serve human needs and bring about systemic change, I am puzzled and distressed that the Catholic community is not officially represented in this current effort to work together on the most pressing problems in our community.”

I am puzzled and distressed myself. I have a profound disappointment that this letter was written to the paper without any research apparently being done on the part of a person who worked in the diocese and should understand why these things happen from time to time.

Why, instead of writing directly to the paper, did sister not try contacting the bishop and ask him why we are not getting involved? It is a rare, rare thing that a parish is told to put any activity they are involved in “on hold.” That should be a sign that something may be going on that we don’t know about.

I want to make it clear that I don’t know anything about the GCC or what they intend to do. But think for a moment: they have a far reach agenda. What if one of their stated goals is something that is in direct contradiction to Catholic teaching yet the bishop is putting his official endorsement on it by stating Catholics are involved? Just for example, let us say that the GCC wants to support more clinics coming into the city that provides abortions for underprivileged people. (Once again, let me be very clear, I have NO idea if they want this or not.) Can the Catholic Church legitimately be involved? Of course not. We may be “on hold” because they have not even come so far as to know exactly what they stand for. It is a wise, wise bishop who doesn’t let his diocese get tangled up in (yet another) embarrassing mess. This scenario is one possibility.

Another one to consider: The Diocese of Cleveland ALREADY pours an ENORMOUS amount of resources combating the very things this initiative is seeking to address. Though we are (I believe) the 11th largest diocese, we have the largest Catholic Charities in the United States. These are long standing established ministries. Would participating in GCC sap energy and resources AWAY from these initiatives?

These are just two ideas to consider. There are more. They may or may not have played a role in our putting our participation on hold. But did sister bother to try to find out first? Granted, it may seem at first that it would have been beneficial for the bishop to state WHY we are not getting involved for the time being, but then he would have to say WHY and that might be damaging to the cause in an area where one out of five people are Catholics.

Now it is an issue in the Plain Dealer (which already does not report well the inner workings of the Church.) The Catholic community looks divided, people are angry, and the real issues are further clouded.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


We have two seminarians as of the moment. When you have seminarians you need someplace to teach them – a seminary. A seminary needs graduate level teachers in theology, Scripture, ethics, and a host of other topics. Those teachers need training. All of this requires resources. LOTS of resources. That is one of the strengths of being a diocese. All together we accomplish quite a bit more than we could as a collection of individual churches.
In fact, we are not individual churches at all. True, we each have church buildings, but that is “church” in a slightly different understanding of the word. First we are the Catholic Church. The local Church is the diocese (or eparchy.) So, from where this is being written, we belong to the Church of Cleveland. Each of the entities within the local church are not “churches” per se but parishes. So the proper name of such a place is not St. Sebastian Church, but St. Sebastian Parish.

The institution of the diocese and bishops have been taking quite a beating on the chin as of late. Some of it well deserved. But we must not lose sight of the fact that their being allows us to be who we are. Despite the screaming headlines to the contrary there is also an incredible amount of good about a diocese and a bishop which is often taken for granted.

This coming advent we will begin using the new Missal. Priests need to be trained. Someone needs to inform and train them. Someone needs to call them together. Someone needs to make sure we are all on the same page. Someone needs to make sure St. Idontwantochange gets on board with the rest of the church whether the local priest wants to or not.

Or schools function because we are part of a larger system of diocesan schools that help us be accredited, helps us find qualified personnel, sets curriculum, negotiates benefits, helps inform about new laws and state mandates, etc. etc. etc.

Catholic Social Services, annulment work, having a place to complain to, having a voice in local government, having a unified diocesan wide voice, having an official teaching voice, the list goes on and on and on. That is why when a Catholic parish goes down in a struggling neighborhood it is far more devastating that when many other churches or institutions close. Because of our unity the neighborhood has a voice, has resources coming to it, and when the parish closes that extra attention disappears.

So we can talk about all the goofs, all the things we disagree with, and some of the scandals coming out of “downtown” (as we call the diocese in these parts) but it must also be remembered that we cannot be who we are without them. A tremendous amount of good comes from downtown. Great work, good deeds, great concern, and heavy loads are carried our daily by dedicated, determined Catholics working for the benefit of the whole local church.

Pray for them. For we are as healthy as we are as a Church.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK:  Evolution is a metaphor from mere automatic unrolling.  Progress is a metaphor from merely walking along – very likely the wrong road.  But reform is a metaphor fro reasonable and determined men: it means that we see a certain thing out of shape and we mean to put it into shape.  And we know what shape.”  from G. K. Chesterton’s, “Orthodoxy”

QUOTE II:  The great spiritual challenge is to discover, over time, that the limited, conditional, and temporal love we receive from parents, husbands, wives, children, teachers, colleagues and friends are reflections of the unlimited, unconditional and everlasting love of God.” Henri Nouwen


Attention priest friends:  If you are like me you can't stand most of the priest shirts made out there.  If you are tall the automatically assume you are as big as a house.  There was a company that made decent - off the rack shirts that fit even monkey armed persons such as myself but they went out of business or some such thing.  Well, they were purchased and Stadelmaier shirts are once again available for those who like them.  Here is the link.

The Diocese of Cleveland Enewletter offers this column by Bishop Richard Lennon:  "What is the secret to a loving, lifelong marriage? In a word: commitment. Commitment means choosing (deciding) to give up other choices. This collides with our American desire to maximize individual choices. It causes young people to postpone making lifelong commitments such as marriage. The average age of marriage is now the highest in U.S. history at 28 for men and 26 for women."  Read more here.

P. sent in these links to Catholic Chaplains during WWII from life magazine.  1 and 2  Thanks.

One of my favorite artists has a new painting for sale - "The Temptation of Christ"  See it here.  He did my St. Sebastian.  If you like it on-line you will LOVE it in person.

Excellent video!  If the finished product is anything like this trailer it should be fabulous!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


As most of you know I have dog that I love named Sebastian. He is the best dog ever. EVER. Now there is an interloper in our lives.

Of course there are no tags.  SO we called all the people one calls when trying to find the owner of a lost dog.  We walked around the neighborhood hoping she would lead us to her home (no dice) getting the word out and putting up signs.  I even tried letting her go.  But like a homing pigeon she just comes back to St. Sebastian.  Every time.  (We should try less quality food.)

I don't want to get attached.  But then we ran into this problem:
So Fr. Pfieffer and I started trying out some names.

Nothing seemed to work for her.  I got in the habit of calling her Girlfriend.

So now she is knows as Anonymous.  Nonny for short.

She and Sebastian get along like gangbusters.
One must be careful walking through the rectory as a dog game make break out at your feet at any moment.

I tried to "give" the dog to Fr. Pfeiffer but that wasn't working out.
So - for right now - a couple more days of waiting for a phone call from her owner.  Then some lucky family in the parish will get her.


Friday, June 10, 2011


Things you may or may not see over the next two weekends at Mass:

The Church has symbolic options to perform over these next two weekends to help us move along with the liturgical calendar. This Sunday marks 50 days since Easter – Pentecost; the descent of the Holy Spirit, the last day of the Easter Season. After evening prayer on Sunday we begin ordinary time.

In the extraordinary form of the Mass the Paschal Candle (or Christ Candle or Easter Candle) would have been extinguished after the homily on Ascension Thursday. Symbolically this is terribly practical. Since the candle represents Christ and He ascends into heaven symbolically during the Gospel on that day, it makes sense that it be extinguished.

This does not happen in the ordinary form of the Mass. Instead it remains lit during the entire Easter season. An option (which I use if we have a strong altar server) is that the Paschal Candle is borne out of the sanctuary after each Mass on Pentecost at the end of the procession. This marks the end of the Easter season.

Failing this, when you come to Mass the following weekend you should see the following: The Paschal candle is no longer next to the pulpit/ambo but has been moved to the baptismal font. White altar clothes and vestments have been exchanged for green ones during the week (there are a couple of feasts on following Sundays not directly connected to the Easter season on which white will still be worn.) If there was a font set up for Easter, it should now be removed, and the flowers should change. There may still be flowers because of the feasts, but they should be less reminiscent of Easter and move on to more summery varieties.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This post is risky.
I’m going to tell you about a book I am ready BEFORE I finish it. I did this once before (not on this blog) and it was a disaster. The end of the book took a horrible turn and I was mightily embarrassed after telling others about dit.

Just the same – This book is called, “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson. It concerns the state of world perception, particularly of that of the United States, during the rise of Hitler. Everything on the surface seemed so normal and people wanted to believe in a world run by sane people, the United States desired to stay out of another European wasp’s nest, not to mention we wanted to be on good terms with Germany because they owed us an incredible amount of money. Bearing that in mind I find this paragraph chilling:

“Nice days were still nice. ‘The sun shines,’ wrote Christopher Isherwood in his Berlin Stories, ‘and Hitler is the master of this city. The sun shines, and dozens of my friends . . . are in prison, possibly dead.’ The prevailing normalcy was seductive. ‘I catch sight of my face in the mirror of a shop, and am shocked to see that I am smiling,’ Isherwood wrote. ‘You can’t help smiling, in such beautiful weather.’ The trams moved as usual, as did the pedestrians passing on the street; everything around him had ‘an air of curious familiarity, of striking resemblance to something one remembers as normal and pleasant in the past – like a very good photograph.’”

I wonder if we will wake from a similar dream. Life for citizens of the United States is good. Never have so many people lived so well. We have so much and can do so much. Never have so many people lived with such freedom and power. Life is enjoyable. We run in the park, grab a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop, speak our mind without fear, worship on Sunday as we will. True, we are at war but day to day life as most of us experience it is frightfully normal if not good.

Will we wake one day to fully realize that behind cheery billboards, smart buildings, immaculate lobbies, we have done away with thousands of human beings in the womb? One day, will we look back and wonder how it could have happened in such drastic numbers? Will others ask why we as individuals didn’t say something? Will we be embarrassed as we are about the treatment of Jews, or slaves, or Native Americans, or the whole list of people it was at one time or another Okay to treat as sub-human?

Or is this the new normal?